Ilya Yefimovich Repin (1844 - 1930)
Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16th, 1581
Oil on canvas, 1885
199.5 × 254 cm (78.54 × 100 in)
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
This famous work of Repin, Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan: November 16, 1581, was painted in 1885. Repin started thinking about the painting as early as in 1881, the year of the bloody assassination of Alexander II, when, after a concert of Rimskii-Korsakov's Sweetness of Revenge, he began to recall various other bloody episodes from Russian history. Ivan the Terrible's murder of his own son seemed to be the most fitting pretext to express the artist's rejection of all violence and bloodshed. The work on the painting commenced after Repin finished They Did Not Expect Him. As a model for the tsar Repin used his friend, the artist G.G. Miasoedov, and for his son, the writer Vsevolod Garshin. The completed painting, shown at the Thirteenth Exhibition of the Society of the Traveling Exhibitions, was praised by the progressives and criticized by the conservatives. Ivan Kramskoi, Repin's teacher, described the painting in an emotional statement:
"What is expressed and emphatically accentuated is the incidental character of the murder! This most phenomenal aspect, an extremely difficult one to project, is achieved by means of only two figures. The father has struck his own son in the temple with the staff! A moment, and the father cries out in horror, dashes to the son and has seized him! Squatting on the floor, he raises him upon his knees, and firmly, firmly presses with one hand the wound on the temple (but blood flows in a gush between the finger slits), and with the other hand across the waist, presses him to his breast, and firmly, firmly kisses the head of this poor son (unusually appealing), and he roars (positively roars) from horror, in the helplessness of his condition. While throwing himself upon the son, tearing at his own head, the father stains the upper half of his face with blood -- a touch of Shakespearean tragicomedy. This animal shouts from horror -- and the sweet, precious son, resignedly dying, with his beautiful eyes and remarkably attractive mouth, his heavy breathing, his helpless hands. Oh, my God, could one quickly, quickly help! Who cares that on the painting there is already a whole puddle of blood in that place the son's temple has hit the floor; who cares that there will yet be a full basin of blood -- the usual thing! A person mortally wounded will certainly lose a great deal of blood.
But how it is painted, God, how it is painted! Indeed, can you imagine a pool of blood not being noticed, not affecting you because of the frightful, highly expressive grief of the father, and his loud shriek? And in his hands his son, his son whom he has murdered. And the son cannot any longer control the pupil of his eye; he breathes heavily, feeling the grief of his father, his horror, his shriek, and he, like a baby, wishes to smile at him as if to say: "It's nothing, father, do not be afraid". . . ."
Ivan IV Vasilyevich (Russian: Èâà́í ×åòâ¸ðòûé, Âàñè́ëüåâè÷ , Ivan Chetvyorty, Vasilyevich), known in English as Ivan the Terrible (= inspiring fear) (Russian: Èâà́í Ãðî́çíûé, Ivan Grozny) (August 25, 1530, Moscow – 28 March [O.S. 18 March] 1584, Moscow) was Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533. The epithet "Grozny" is associated with might, power and strictness, rather than poor performance, horror or cruelty. Some authors more accurately translate it into modern English as Ivan the Awesome. Ivan oversaw numerous s in the transition from a mere local medieval nation state to a small empire and emerging regional power, becoming the first Tsar of a new more powerful nation, acknowledged as "Tsar of All Russia" from 1547.
Ivan is described in contrary terms: intelligent, devout, and impulsive by some; given to rages and prone to episodic outbreaks of mental illness by others. One notable outburst resulted in the death of his groomed and chosen heir Ivan Ivanovich (although this version is supported mainly by foreign authors of that time and those Russian historians who quote them; according to others Ivan Ivanovich could die of some illness), and resulted in the passing of the Tsardom to the younger son: the arguably mentally challenged Feodor I of Russia. His long reign saw the conquest of the Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia, transforming Russia into a multiethnic and multiconfessional state spanning almost 1 billion acres, growing during his term at a rate of approximately 50 square miles a day.
The Tsardom of Rus' (Russian: Öàðñòâî Ðóññêîå) was the official name for the Russian state between Ivan IV's assumption of the title of Tsar (Emperor) in 1547 and Peter the Great's foundation of the Russian Empire in 1721. The name originated from the fact that it contained all of the Rus lands that were at the time free of foreign states' domination. This new name was recognized by England in 1554 and by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilan II in 1576. To this day some Western sources refer to this state as Muscovite Russia or Muscovy, the term originally applied in Western and Central Europe to its medieval predecessor, the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Diverse researchers consider the propagation of this term in Western Europe as a result of political interests and active diplomacy of Poland, the strongest international power in Northern-eastern Europe at the dawning of the Early Modern era.
Ivan Ivanovich (Èâà́í Èâàíîâè÷) (March 28, 1554 - November 19, 1581) of the House of Rurik, was Tsarevich - the heir apparent - of the Tsardom of Russia, being the second son of Ivan the Terrible and Anastasia Romanovna, and elder brother of Feodor.
The young Ivan was apparently just as cruel as his father, having accompanied him during the Massacre of Novgorod at the age of 15. For the whole five weeks, he and his father would watch the depredations of the Oprichniks with enthusiasm, and retire to church for prayer, apparently as a supplement to the pleasure derived from the killings.
Ivan is written to have once saved his father from an assassination attempt. A Livonian prisoner named Bykovski raised a sword against the elder Ivan, only to be rapidly stabbed by the Tsarevich.
At the age of 17, Ivan was betrothed to Eudoxia Saburova, one of 12 marriage finalists rejected by his father. Due to her sterility, Ivan's father banished her to a convent. He later married Praskovia Solova, only to have the elder Ivan send her away for the same reason.
At age 27, Ivan was at least as well read as his father, and in his free time, wrote a biography on Antony of Siya. His sadistic impulses remained, and he frequently oversaw the torture of prisoners with his father, as well as swap lovers. His third wife was Yelena Seremeteva, who was found to be pregnant on October 1581. His relationship with his father began to deteriorate during the later stages of the Livonian War. Angered at his father signing the Truce of Jam Zapolski, Ivan demanded to be given command of some troops to liberate Pskov. Their relationship further deteriorated when on November 15, the Tsar, after seeing his pregnant daughter-in-law wearing unconventionally light clothing, physically assaulted her. Hearing her screams, the Tsarevich rushed to his wife's defence, angrily shouting, "You sent my first wife to a convent for no reason, you did the same with my second, and now you strike the third, causing the death of the son she holds in her womb." Yelena subsequently suffered a miscarriage. The Tsarevich confronted his father on the matter, only to have the topic d to his insubordination regarding Pskov. The elder Ivan accused his son of inciting rebellion, which the younger Ivan denied, but vehemently stuck to the view that Pskov should be liberated. Angered, Ivan's father struck him on the head with his sceptre. Boris Godunov, who was present at the scene, tried to intervene, but received blows himself. The younger Ivan fell, barely conscious and with a bleeding wound on his temple. The elder Ivan immediately threw himself at his son, kissing his face and trying to stop the bleeding, whilst repeatedly crying, "May I be damned! I've killed my son! I've killed my son!" The younger Ivan briefly regained consciousness and said "I die as a devoted son and most humble servant." For the next few days, the elder Ivan prayed incessantly for a miracle, but to no avail. The Tsarevich died on November 19, 1581.