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Religious procession in Kursk province - Ilya Efimovich Repin. 175x280
An outstanding portrait painter, master of historical and everyday genres, I. Repin presented a large-scale painting “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 is moving directly from the depths directly at the viewer and as if bursting into real space. Ahead of the procession are singers and carry a huge canopy decorated with colored ribbons from the icon with a gilded dome, in which the flame of candles flickers. Behind them is a crowd of clergymen and philistines, at the head of which two women bowed over an empty icon case from beneath a miraculous icon with humble reverence. Further, a red priest with a censer is visible, and at some distance the local rich lady with an expression of arrogance on her face carries the miraculous icon itself. Nearby is the rest of the city nobility: a military man in uniform, a merchant with a gold chain on his stomach and a high clergy.
And on both sides, this noble audience was cordoned off by mounted police officers 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 a miracle from the “manifest icon”. A young, miserable 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 made an unprecedented impression on contemporaries. Conservative sections of society immediately raised an aggressive debate around her. In the reactionary press, the work was scolded for unjust conviction and poisonous sarcasm. But all the artist’s friends, advanced youth, students, intellectuals and educated commoners accepted her with enthusiasm.