Art and Faith

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Ilya Repin. A Portrait of the Author Ivan Turgenev. 1874

Filed under: 19th century,fine art,portrait,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

ilya-repin-portrait-of-the-author-ivan-turgenev-1874.jpgA Portrait of the Author Ivan Turgenev (Ilya Repin, 1874)

Ilya Repin was the leading portraitist of his day, as he was known for the ability of depicting his subject’s character in all its detail. Since the writer Turgenev was mentioned in the article on Dmitriev-Orenburgsky below, I thought you might be interested in Mr Repin’s portrait of the writer.

Ilya Repin. The Imperial Reception of the Freeholding Elders in the Courtyard of the Petrovsky Palace on 18 May 1896. 1896

Filed under: early modern,fine art,historical,human study,Russian,urban scene — 01varvara @ 00.00

The Imperial Reception of the Freeholding Elders in the Courtyard of the Petrovsky Palace on 18 May 1896 (Ilya Repin, 1896)

Autocracy is not merely dictatorship… that is why we have two different words for two very different concepts. The autocrat must rule in consonance with his people, for their best interest, and as Tsar St Nikolai Aleksandrovich correctly noted, it is a crushing duty. In some ways, people have more freedom under autocracy than under “democracy”, strange as it sounds to Western ears. The autocrat must listen to the “voice of the people”, or he faces the consequences.

A “democratically elected” leader often ignores all voices except for those who elected him, which leads to disastrous results, as the examples of Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush illustrate all too graphically. Therefore, if Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is an “autocrat”, he has more responsibility for the welfare of the Russian people than a “popularly elected” president would. I would say that VVP has discharged his duties well, and that he is one of the most respected leaders in the world today. As for George W. Bush…

Ilya Repin. An Ataman from the Zaporozhe Sich. 1880

An Ataman from the Zaporozhe Sich (Ilya Repin, 1880)

An “ataman” (“hetman” is incorrect, it is a corrupt Polish usage) was a chieftain of the Cossack host. The Sich was known for its staunch adherence to Orthodoxy, and no one who did not confess the Orthodox faith was allowed to ride with them. On the other hand, it did not matter where a man came from, it did not matter what his race was, it was only sufficient to confess the Orthodox faith full and entire, and to swear vengeance against the Polish occupiers and the Jesuit Unia they imposed on the suffering Little Russian people.

The Cossacks were not a nationality, they were a social caste. They bore special feudal duties to the Russian state, and if you hear fairy tales from Ukrainian nationalist extremists that Tsaritsa Yekaterina suppressed them, it is false. Cossacks existed as a discrete caste until the fall of the empire, and there are many people today who are proud to tell you of their Cossack heritage. Just go to Novocherkassk!

Today, some Galician Uniates try to usurp Cossack imagery and songs in an attempt to legitmatise their claims. That is not true to the historical record. The Cossacks HATED the Unia with all their hearts, and attacked it wherever they found it. The Cossacks were profoundly ORTHODOX, and this should never be forgotten.

Nikolai Dmitriev-Orenburgsky. General Nikolai Skobolyov Leads the Way. 1883

nikolai-dmitriev-orenburgsky-general-nikolai-skobolyov-leads-the-way-1883.jpgGeneral Nikolai Skobolyov Leads the Way (Nikolai Dmitriev-Orenburgsky, 1883)

General Skobolyov was the leader of the combined Orthodox armies on the Balkan front during the Russo-Turkish War. He was the liberator of much of Romania, Serbia, and Bulgaria, and his memory is still fresh in these regions. There is an interesting bit of trivia concerning the good general. He died of a heart attack… in a brothel. He was so popular amongst the Russian people that this… ahem! …incident… was forgotten and forgiven. He was given a hero’s funeral and his statue was erected. Parenthetically, the late Field Marshal Montgomery considered him the greatest military leader of the period between the end of the Napoleonic Wars and World War I.

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