The genre painting depicts the participants in the duel after the event. The artist very expressively painted the faces of the participants, especially the face of the wounded, who holds out his hand asking for forgiveness and reconciliation.
The figure of the second participant in the duel, shown in the foreground on the right, is also expressive. Taking off his gloves, he turned his back to the wounded man, making it clear that the duel was over and he was the winner. His posture is full of reluctance for reconciliation and pride. Whereas in the posture of a dying man – helplessness and hope.
Repin was inspired by Tolstoy’s idea of forgiveness and wanted to express its importance to society. Leo Tolstoy sharply denied the practice of dueling and insisted on human humanism. The theme and plot of the picture was based on a real fact, which was told to the artist by one military judicial figure about the case that was being examined in the court of the city of Tula. The fatal insult stood like a wall between the 2 men, and the one who inflicted it was wounded in a duel, dying, he realized everything and asked for forgiveness.
The landscape is of particular importance in the picture. In addition to the bright green of the grass and the accurate rendering of the forest glade, a typical Repin feature was revealed in it. The trunks of the trees in the background are illuminated by a ray of sun. This was masterfully done and was greatly admired in Italy at the World’s Fair.
The stable term “Repin’s light” appeared. As a result, at that moment the painting remained in Italy, in a private collection.
Year of painting: 1897.
Painting dimensions: 52 × 104 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Genre: genre painting.
Gallery: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.