Art and Faith

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Ilya Repin. A Study for “The Zaporozhe Cossacks Write a Mocking Letter to the Turkish Sultan”. 1880

00 Ilya Repin. A Study for 'The Zaporozhe Cossacks Write a Mocking Letter to the Turkish Sultan'. 1880

A Study for “The Zaporozhe Cossacks Write a Mocking Letter to the Turkish Sultan”

Ilya Repin



Repin made this study in preparation for his larger-scale work completed in 1891. Even so, I believe that this more modest piece has its own voice, more intimate and more human in scale. I seem to think that the cossacks are having more fun in this version. I am posting another week of Repin as I have so many works by him in my files. I can truthfully say that even adding a week more of posting shall NOT exhaust my collection, so, you can see more at another point in future. Oh, yes… the theme today is “cossacks”.


Ilya Repin. Ataman Serko. 1889

Filed under: 19th century,Cossack,fine art,historical,human study,military,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Ataman Serko (Ilya Repin, 1889)

A good friend of mine put a post on her site mentioning Ivan Serko (also known as Sirko, spelling was rather haphazard at the Sich (would YOU argue with a cossack? I thought not…)). Ataman Serko (1610-1680) was a champion of Orthodoxy and loyal to the Orthodox tsar in Moscow. Besides fighting the Turks and Poles in Little Russia, he also served in Siberia, in the area of Tobolsk. Ataman Serko also opposed Little Russian separatists. During his time as ataman, the cossacks at the Sich wrote their famous letter to the Turkish sultan replete with all sorts of colourful insults and lusty profanity. He is one of the famous folk heroes of the Empire.

Ilya Repin. A Cossack. 1887

Filed under: 19th century,Cossack,fine art,human study,military,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

A Cossack (Ilya Repin, 1887)

This is a study of a cossack of the Kuban voiska (host) from the late nineteenth century. The cossacks received special privileges from the government in return for their military service whenever needed. They were settled throughout the Empire, in fact, the majority of cossacks were from Russian regions (particularly Siberia and Novorossiya), not the Ukraine. Be wary of all “Ukrainian nationalist” attempts to co-opt cossack imagery and music. The actual cossacks hated (and still hate) the Unia. So, if you see a Galician in a cossack costume, be aware that an actual cossack (now, as well as in the past) would pull out his nagaika (horse-whip) and teach them a very sharp lesson.

Sergei Gavrilyachenko. Cossack Duty. 1999

Cossack Duty

Sergei Gavrilyachenko



Mr Gavrilyachenko is of Cossack background, so, the fact that he paints mainly scenes of Cossack life and service shouldn’t be a surprise. This is my favourite work by this artist. It shows the dedication to duty and honour held by the Cossacks, and their love of their Russian motherland. Did he return? One can only guess…

Zhdi menya i ya vernus… Wait for me, and I’ll return…


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