Ilya Efimovich Repin was still a promising student of Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy, when his future wife had already posed for him for paintings, drawings and sketches. Vera Alekseevna Shevtsova, the daughter of Alexey Ivanovich Shevtsov, a teacher of drawing and drafting at the Peterhof Lapidary Factory, was nine years old.
Later, when Vera turned 16 and she entered the Mariinsky Institute, and Ilya Repin had already painted his “Barge Haulers on the Volga” in 1871, exhibited them and the picture was a significant success, they got married.
Ilya Efimovich immediately began to draw and paint the entire Shevtsov family.
In 1873 IE Repin received the Vigee-Lebrun gold medal from the Academy of Arts for expression. Then he received a referral to the World Exhibition in Vienna, where the work was highly appreciated, and Repin became a famous artist in Europe. From 1873 to 1876 the Repins lived abroad.
In 1977, the artist first came to Abramtsevo, the estate of Savva Mamontov, which from that moment on will become the home of creativity for Ilya Efimovich for many years.
Among the many famous paintings written during this period, “Summer Landscape” (Vera Alekseevna Repina on the bridge in Abramtsevo) in 1879 seems quite insignificant and little-known. However, if we look at this work in the general perspective of the life and work of Ilya Efimovich Repin, we can say that a small “landscape with staffage” is one of Repin’s intimate and lyrical works. He and Vera have been married for seven years. They have three children and Vera is the main model for Ilya Efimovich. Her life is dedicated to her beloved husband, his work, his ideas and his personality. In the perspective of time, we can say that this landscape reflected the peak of marital happiness.
Dense, dense shady greenery of an overgrown park, old logs of a small old bridge over the stream bleached by the sun and bad weather. A figure of a woman in a fashionable dress from the late 70s of the 19th century stands on this staggering structure, as if she had just stopped and was about to move on. Accessories: a white umbrella, almost inconspicuous against the background of the draperies of the dress, a cape in her left hand, laid aside for a minute on the railing of the bridge, a black hat, black boots with heels, black lace at the throat, a white jacket – in such a toilet a lady could easily walk along Nevsky avenue or at the Tuileries. But she is here in silence and mysterious more often than Abramtsev. The artist conveys the fragility and sophistication of the figure in contrast to the nature and dilapidation of the building.
And at the same time, we feel the author’s tenderness in the light pink color of the dress, in the feminine grace of the figure in the almost childish contours of the half-turned face.
Then, many years later, they will part, and other women will be the heroines of his paintings, but this landscape with the figure of his beloved woman will remain in the history of painting, as a symbol of truly Russian landscape poetry.
Year of painting: 1879.
Dimensions of the painting: 38 x 61 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Genre: genre painting.
Gallery: private collection.