The portrait was painted in 1881.
It is no coincidence that this portrait stands out among the artist's creations. A well-known fact - the picture was created shortly before the death of the composer. Thanks to this important fact, the portrait fills with special drama and maximum depth.
We see Mussorgsky who is seriously ill. In his reddish face and sparkling eyes, the effect of an ailment is felt. It is the face that matters to the artist. That is why he seeks to attract our attention to him. One gets the impression that he seeks to reveal the secret of the composer's craftsmanship. A beard, mustache and hair, which is a bit tousled, cannot distract from the way Mussorgsky looks.
We can read in his expressive eyes incredible longing and deepest sadness. But at the same time we have a man full of energy and strength.
Repin specially wrote rather schematically wrote the clothes of the composer. These things are needed only to frame the face. A special turn of the head in which a challenge is felt helps us to feel that Mussorgsky did not give up and was actively fighting the disease to the last.
As for the background, any details are missing. It seems that the composer is depicted on an unusual background of floating clouds. This allows you to create a feeling of true greatness. Mussorgsky, like his works, is indomitable and unique. There is music in his eyes. We can read it in them. There lurk ideas that the composer never managed to translate.
The painter painlessly captures all the features of Mussorgsky’s face, which retain the imprint of the disease. This is offset by a smart and really delicate decision of the picture.
The combination of a raspberry and green robe against a light shade is really impressive. The wrinkle relief is smoothed out by bright light. The lip fold surprises with its touchingness. A man seems to be listening to himself. We feel how lonely and estranged he is from the whole world. Repin created the most soulful portrait.
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