The hour of fate has struck at last The poet stops and silently his pistol drops
alexander pushkin – Eugene Onegin
Oddly enough, it was facebook that led us back to the prodigious catalogue of work by Russian Realist Ilya Repin. Unreasonable amounts of snow earlier this week rivalled any slavic winter making the roads impassable and muffling the sounds of the city with a white hush. We found ourselves tucked up in bed chatting and glancing occasionally at Miss Z’s laptop screen while she caught up with friends post-NYE. While scrolling through the endless status updates and randomly vague grammatically-incorrect comments, the image above jumped out from a timeline header – as out of place as freesia in February.
Anyone born in a cold climate knows exactly what this work feels like – trees stripped bare of their leafy protection, icicles lengthening with each frigid passing night, every breath drawn sharp and crystalline no matter how many layers we are swaddled in. The duel between Onegin and Lensky, where social considerations outweigh rational thought and end badly, are not that far removed from the constructs of our own age where we are, despite our best efforts, unprotected.
Discover more on Ilya Repin next week…