An exhibition featuring work by the international master painter Ilya Repin (1844–1930) will be on display on the third floor of the Ateneum Art Museum from 19 March to 29 August 2021. Repin is Russia’s most famous painter and also loved by the Finns: his studio home was located on Finnish territory, in Kuokkala in Terijoki, between 1917 and 1930. The exhibition is realised in collaboration with the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow and the Petit Palais in Paris. Changes to the exhibition and its schedule are possible.
Ilya Repin is above all known as a master of psychological portrayals of people and depictions of Russian folklife. The Ateneum will be able to display Repin’s best-known paintings with masterful details, including Barge Haulers on the Volga (1870–1873) and Zaporozhian Cossacks Writing a Mocking Letter to the Turkish Sultan (1880–1891), both from the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. The exhibition’s many portraits feature members of the artist’s family, as well as cultural influencers of the time, such as the composer Modest Mussorgsky and the author Leo Tolstoy.
Ilya Repin, the most significant Russian artist of his time, depicted the Russian people, who had been freed from serfdom in the 1860s, as well as the intelligentsia of the era, and the relationship between the people and their rulers. His work has also strongly influenced the Finnish people’s current perception of the essence of Russianness.
“We have been wanting to stage an exhibition of Ilya Repin’s work at the Ateneum for 25 years. We are happy that we will be able to display works by Repin, one of the most famous artists in the world, to the Finnish public after a long break”, says the director of the Ateneum Art Museum, Marja Sakari.
The exhibition is realised in collaboration with the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow and the Petit Palais in Paris. More than one hundred paintings and paper-based works will be on display. Works will be on loan from, for example, the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum, and private Russian collections. The exhibition project at the Ateneum is managed by the chief curator, Timo Huusko. After the Ateneum, the exhibition will be on display at the Petit Palais in Paris.
The exhibition will also feature works from the Ateneum collection held by the Finnish National Gallery. The Ateneum’s collection includes 116 works by Ilya Repin, most of which are drawings. After Finland became independent and Repin found himself living on Finnish soil, he donated 7 of his own works and 23 works by other Russian artists to the Finnish Art Society, the current Ateneum.
The exhibition will be complemented by the publication of a richly illustrated exhibition catalogue with articles by experts, to be made available in Finnish, Swedish and English. The publication is edited by the curator Anne-Maria Pennonen.
Exhibition intros and guided tours available for booking now
You can get more out of your visit to the exhibition by booking places to an exhibition intro for your group, to be held in the Ateneum Hall. Guided tours in the exhibition galleries are only held outside normal opening hours on separate request. Explore the options available on the Ateneum website.
Image: Ilya Repin: Zaporozhian Cossacks Writing a Mocking Letter to the Turkish Sultan (1880–1891). State Russian Museum. © State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg