Ilya Yefimovich Repin (1844 - 1930) was the finest and most celebrated painter of his generation, and an important influence in shaping a distinctly Russian school within nineteenth-century Realism. An important part of his work is dedicated to his native country, Ukraine. His realistic works often expressed great psychological depth and exposed the tensions within the existing social order.
His often-controversial works addressed subjects including the hard lives of the peasants, the fates of revolutionary activists, loaded episodes of Russian history and some of the nation's greatest cultural figures, many of whom he counted as personal friends, including Tolstoy, Musorgsky and Gorky. His vibrant, colorful and topical canvases offer a fascinating panorama of the issues that were swirling in the minds of his contemporaries, and an unusual view of all strata of life during this crucial period of historical change.