Thursday, February 22, 2018

Repin portraits vs. color photos of the same model

Color photograph of Andreyev
Leonid Andreyev was a Russian writer who experimented with early color photography, taking selfies between 1910 and 1914. 

These are true color photos using the Autochrome method, decades before Eastman Kodak's process.

Oil painting of Leonid Andreyev by Ilya Repin
Andreyev was also a friend of the great artist Ilya Repin, who painted several portraits of him. 


So we have the rare treat of being able to compare color photographs of one of Repin's models with some painted portraits. 

They're not in the same poses, not taken at the same time, and Repin didn't use these photos as reference.

But it's remarkable to see how Repin stayed true to the essential character of the sitter, clarified the structure of his face, and presented him in an interesting way.
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Book: Photographs by a Russian Writer Leonid Andreyev: An Undiscovered Portrait of Pre-Revolutionary Russia
Leonid Andreyev - his Autochromes, and two portraits by Repin
Previously: How Sargent Interpreted Carolus-Duran

4 comments:

Tobias Gembalski said...

The photographs are quite remarkable. Because of their timeless settings they look like taken today.
Thanks for sharing.

Guenevere Schwien said...

Certainly can see the likeness, what a great find.

Smurfswacker said...

Interesting how ordinary, how "real," the color photos make this fellow look. The second one, especially, could be a 2018 shot of someone's roommate. Often black-and-white photos of people from this era give off a "period" vibe, possibly because so many viewers think of b&w photography as "pre-color" photography...in other words, old pictures. It reminds me of a "Calvin and Hobbes" strip in which Calvin's dad claims that when he was a boy the world was in black and white; color didn't come until later.

Ola Sarri said...

The last painting is also a good example of "loaded edges" that you wrote an excellent post about (an eye opener for me).