Barge Haulers On The Volga Analysis

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Artist Ilya Repin’s painting, Barge Haulers on the Volga, is an 1870-1873 oil on canvas painting. Repin was born on April 5, 1844, in Chuguev, Ukraine. His father was a soldier and Repin’s childhood was distinct by poverty and hardship. Repin first started out doing icon paintings. As soon as Repin had saved up enough money, he set out for St. Petersburg hoping to be admitted into the Academy of Arts. A year later Repin had developed his skills enough to be accepted. Repin convinced himself that art should represent real life. His painting, Barge Haulers on the Volga, fit this principle and was his first completed painting after leaving the Academy. He spent two years traveling during which time he observed both the rich and common peasant.…show more content…
The holes placed in the fabric, and where the cloth bunches up conveys realism. You can see the look of exhaustion exhibited on the men’s faces. There are wrinkles on their foreheads from many years of hard labor. There are footprints in the sand from where the men have walked before. There is ridges in the sand from where the water from the river had washed up onto the shore carving the sand away. However, the size of the 11 men appear to be much larger compared to the ships in the water which is not proportional. As well as a ship of that caliber 11 men wouldn’t be able to pull into shore, making that dynamic not realistic…show more content…
Repin took a boat trip down the Volga River to explore this concept further. As he studied their way of life, Repin realized that they were real people with separate personalities. Like many other artists of his time, Repin valued the physical labor of man as a hot topic to paint about. Each man in this painting are reflections of Russia; and no two individuals are alike. They are men of various ages, physiques, and ethnic backgrounds. The labor of peasants was a realistic subject during Russian life. Bibliography "Barge Haulers on the Volga." Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia. 10 Jan. 2014. Web. 23 Sept. 2014. <> "Ilya Repin Biography." Art and the Bible. 1 Jan. 2005. Web. 20 Sept. 2014. <>. "Russia! Art and Society: Second Half of the 19th Century." Arts Curriculum. Web. 23 Sept. 2014.

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