As the artist himself admits, a fleeting impression served as the vital material for this picture. Once, while in the Penates, on his estate, Repin saw a young couple - a pretty girl and a gymnasium student - caught off guard by a sea wave.
The girl still somehow tried to defend herself against the elements, while the young man, completely careless from the raging sea, read something by heart, proudly and slightly arrogantly opening his chest to the wind. Their mood was fully consistent with the agitated sea. The endless fun of these two people, happiness, a feeling of youth and eternal love of life, Repin chose as the plot for the canvas. Joy and enthusiasm blows from this picture, as, indeed, from many other works of the artist.
Critics for a long time did not want to correlate this canvas with the great "Ivan the Terrible" and "Cossacks." Like, and the topic is too frivolous, and these ridiculous impressionistic experiments are inappropriate in his declining years. And when they saw that the student, it turns out, was also a “white-mason”, that is, a wealthy class absolutely indifferent to politics, completely enraged. Fortunately, not all art lovers adhered to this point of view.
The most perspicacious understood that it was not the scene itself that was important, but the feeling that it expressed. Recall that the picture was painted in 1903 shortly before the First Revolution. Perhaps in the elements the artist intuitively portrayed a premonition of impending unrest? And although, as history has shown, not everything was so beautiful and cloudless, Repin, in the form of a schoolboy, expressed confidence in people and life itself.
As for the appeal to impressionism, in the case of this picture, his aesthetics only contributed to a more realistic writing by Repin. The accurate, worthy of the marinist Aivazovsky transfer of the emerald ebb of the water, a detailed reproduction of the emotions of a young couple create a unique scene-like effect.
Lovers of Magritte