NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

An exhibition by the international master Ilya Repin presents some of his most famous historical paintings and portraits of major cultural figures of his time, as well as his works from the Ateneum collection. Born in the territory of present-day Ukraine, Repin is Russia’s most famous painter, and he is also loved by the Finns: his studio home was located on Finnish territory, in Kuokkala in Terijoki, between 1903 and 1930.

Ilya Repin is above all known as a master of psychological portrayals of people and depictions of Russian folklife. The Ateneum will be able to display Repin’s best-known paintings with masterful details, including Barge Haulers on the Volga (1870–1873) and Zaporozhian Cossacks Writing a Mocking Letter to the Turkish Sultan (1880–1891), both from the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.

The exhibition’s many portraits feature members of the artist’s family, as well as cultural influencers of the time, such as the composer Modest Mussorgsky and the author Leo Tolstoy. In all, Repin painted more than 300 portraits, including portrayals of many influential women in culture.

Ilya Repin, the most significant Russian artist of his time, depicted the Russian people, who had been freed from serfdom in the 1860s, as well as the intelligentsia of the era, and the relationship between the people and their rulers. His work has also strongly influenced the Finnish people’s current perception of the essence of Russianness.

The exhibition is the first review of Repin’s entire career in Finland in the 21st century. The exhibition features more than 130 paintings and paper-based works spanning a period of more than sixty years. Many of the works are shown in Helsinki for the first time. The Ateneum collection also includes a great number of Repin’s works.

The exhibition is realised by the Ateneum Art Museum and the Petit Palais (Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris/Paris Musées), in collaboration with the State Tretyakov Gallery and the State Russian Museum. The curator of the exhibition at the Ateneum is the chief curator Timo Huusko. After its time at the Ateneum, the exhibition will be on display at the Petit Palais in Paris.

The exhibition is complemented by the publication of a richly illustrated exhibition catalogue with articles by experts, to be made available in Finnish, Swedish and English. The publication is edited by the curator Anne-Maria Pennonen.

Gallery name: Ateneum

Address: Kaivokatu 2, Helsinki

Opening hours: Tue, Fri 10:00 - 18:00, Wed-Thu 10:00 - 20:00, Sat-Sun 10:00 - 17:00

Open: 19.03.2021 - 29.08.2021