"Religious procession in Kursk province, Repin
Description of the picture:
Religious procession in Kursk province – Ilya Efimovich Repin. 1880-1883. Canvas, oil. 175×280
An outstanding portrait painter, master of historical and everyday genres, I. E. Repin presented a large-scale canvas “Religious procession in the Kursk province” – a work far beyond the scope of the domestic genre – at the Eleventh Traveling Exhibition.
A diverse human stream moves directly from the depths directly at the viewer and as if bursts into a real place. Ahead of the procession are singers and carry a giant canopy decorated with colored ribbons from the icon with a golden dome, in which the flame of candles flickers. Behind them – a mass of churchmen and philistines, at the head of which two ladies bowed over the empty icon case from under the miraculous icon, with gentle reverence. Further visible is a reddish priest with a censer, and at a certain distance the local rich lady with an expression of arrogance on her face carries the miraculous icon itself. Nearby the rest of the city nobility walks: a military man in uniform, a merchant with a gold chain on his tummy and the highest clergy.
And on both sides, this generous audience is surrounded by equestrian policemen and Sotsky with plaques on their chests. They protect the procession from the common people, that hungry and impoverished crowd, which with sincere faith expects mercy and miracle from the “manifest icon”. A young, poor hunchback on a crutch burst ahead of everyone, with an expression of spiritual detachment, he is directed forward, but he is blocked by a stick.
The painting produced an unprecedented memory on contemporaries. Conservative strata of society here raised a brutal polemic around her. In the obscurantist press, the work was criticized for unjust conviction and poisonous sarcasm. But all the artist’s friends, advanced youth, students, intellectuals and educated commoners accepted her with ecstasy."