Sunday, November 29, 2009
This painting by Ilya Repin illustrates a scene in Pushkin's novel Eugene Onegin when Onegin kills Lensky in a duel. The scene takes place beside a mill in winter, and the white snow gives Repin the opportunity to silhouette the figures. Their simple poses tell the story immediately.
Repin revisits the story in this oil painting of the terrible moments after Onegin kills Lensky. Here Repin uses strong silhouettes again, but in an even more interesting way. Onegin is isolated, grappling with the weight of the deed.
His simple vertical shape is echoed by the drumbeat rhythm of the trees behind him. Lensky's form lies prostrate on the ground, an uneven, wild shape. The seconds, Guillot and Zaretsky, also form ragged silhouettes, shapewelded to each other and to the darks of the mill behind them.
Keep an eye on next month's (Dec/Jan) issue of International Artist magazine, which will have an article that I wrote for them on silhouettes, based on material in Imaginative Realism.
Previously on GJ: Silhouette, Part 1 and Part 2.