Paintings

Description of Ilya Repin's painting “Refusal of Confession”


“Refusal of Confession” is inspired by a poem called “The Last Confession” and was published in an underground journal, where Repin read it. After long and painful attempts to sketch the composition, to depict an excellent illustration, Repin moved away from illustrativeness and moved on to his own interpretation of the plot.

In the poem, the priest argues with a revolutionary sentenced to death. Embittered, feeling right, he ardently answers calls to repent, and with this flame he burns himself.

In Repin, the argument is replaced by silence. The priest squeezes the cross, preparing to fulfill his duties in the best way. He does not exhort, does not persuade, does not ask and does not argue - he simply waits for what the condemned will decide, and in general, he does not care whether he repents or curses God with all the curses he knows. It is just a job. There is not even interest in the position of the priest, not to mention the heat of the preacher.

The revolutionary also does not want to interfere in the argument. Hot talk is not about him, he is tired, and he sees no reason to argue with another cog of the system. He is exhausted. He has a dirty ragged robe, a beard and long hair not trimmed, looking sloppy. He sits for a long time and still retains the presence of spirit. Starting back from the priest, raising his chin just a little, he says, silently, says “no,” not wanting to repent or preach. He simply wants to be left behind and have done everything that should be done.

The colors of the picture are muddy. The cell is dark and there is practically no light in it. Only two figures are visible, frozen opposite each other, not sparing each other in convincing anything, and a simple prison bed, on which there is nothing that could make it special and belonging to this particular prisoner.

“Refusal of confession” - a refusal not only of repentance, but also of a dispute, because the refusal, which occurs in complete silence.





Praying Hands


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