Portrait of Countess Natalia Golovina Ilya Repin Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Countess Natalia Golovia was painted by IlyaRepin in 1896. He used oil on a canvas to paint the image of a lady (called Countess Natalia Golovina) who is seated and facing to the left of the frame.

In the portrait, Ilya has taken time to cover the image and jewellery with much detail. The woman has silver earrings a, a golden necklace while the dress has a tear embellishment at the chest. She has a pink dress with short sleeves. The location of the painting seems to be in a home as one can see items in the background in what seems like a shelf. The seat seems to be a large sofa whose one of the arms faces the reader. He has played with the light conveniently such that the portrait is clearly in the foreground while other pieces in the background have been blurred from view.

Natalia was a wife to one of his friends called Golovina. This was Golovina’s second marriage. Repin used to paint portraits of most of the very close friends. He mostly preferred to have their portraits taken when they were seated or going about their daily chores. His style of painting showed his view of the world and ideals in life. This was also seen in some of the literary works including the book, Far and Near, which was created in 1916.

Ilya Repin uses the realism style of painting when creating this piece of art. In realism, the painter is at freedom to present elements of work as they are. There are no artistic conventions, exotic and supernatural elements added to the image. It gives the viewers a greater chance to see exact events and happenings in the image. Realism differed from Classicism and Romanticism in that both of the styles allowed painters to add some elements that you would not see with your eyes. His was an accurate depiction of the life form, who in this case is the woman.

Another striking property of the image is the use of colours and shades. Unlike most portrait images of the time, he has taken steps to ensure that the skin colour looks so realistic and one is able to identify the person whose painting was done. He has done the same with the clothing as well as jewellery. Repin was influenced bythis style of painting by the events and artists from Russia and Ukraine. He took part in various Russian art galleries where he was keen on learning what other painters had done. This, along with his military training influenced much of his painting styles.