Thursday, January 14, 2010


Ilya Repin 1844-1930
Temptation 1890s
Oil on canvas
46.5 by 61cm., 18 1/4 by 24in
Private collection

This was an oil sketch for a major work.

The work was Get Thee Behind Me Satan!

The finished canvas was exhibited at the Peredvizhnik exhibition of 1901. It was later destroyed by fire, during the Second World War, but was described by eye-witnesses as a curious combination of a spiritually inspiring Christ (based apparently on the Turin shroud) confronted by a theatrically vibrant Satan

In this surviving study, light and colour serve to polarise the characters, as does the sense of tranquillity on Christ's side contrast with the explosive animation of Satan