Russian painter, the leading artist of the Russian realist movement. Born in the village of Chuguyev in the Ukraine and began working with an icon painter; then studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg 1864-73 under Kramskoy. Awarded a travelling scholarship, visited Vienna and Rome, and studied for two years in Paris, where he was influenced by plein air painting. Became an Academician in 1876; professor of history painting at the Academy in St Petersburg 1894-1907. In 1878 joined the Wanderers (Peredvizhniki), the group of artists concerned with the realistic depiction of Russian life and history, and with the revolutionary struggle against the autocratic regime. Painted portraits of Tolstoy, Mussorgsky and others, as well as Russian contemporary genre and historical subjects in an intensely dramatic style. Remained at his country residence at Kuokkala in Finland after the Revolution and died there. The place has since been renamed Repino after him.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.628