Thursday, August 18, 2016

Repin Academy, St Petersburg (Part 2)

The Repin Academy went through several phases including the Russian Revolution and its name went through a few changes too since its founding in 1757. Some examples of these names are The Imperial Academy of Arts, St Petersburg Academy of the Arts and The Russian Academy of Arts in St Petersburg. Since 1991, it's been called the St Petersburg Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. More of the history of the academy can be wikied here:

The International students for the summer programme used an atelier that was once occupied by Ilya Repin himself. We were told that the ceiling, walls and floor did not go through much upgrading since the time of Repin, so that his spirit may live on in this space and those who dwell in it.

From the top of the stairs at the the entrance of the room where Repin and his family stayed while he worked below (as seen here).

Here's a sketch I did during the model breaks over a couple of days

My instructor Mikail and I debating over Italian style versus Russian

Another sketch during a lecture

This is the Michelangelo room in the cast museum. During the reign of Catherine the Great (who was a major patron of the academy), the crème de la crème were sent to Italy to learn their techniques. 

Rembrandt has 4 rooms at the Hermitage, and has a larger collection than the Hermitage in Amsterdam. 

One of my favourite pieces at the Russian State Museum - Phryne at the Festival of Poseidon in Eleusis by Henryk Simieradzki (Polish)

A special drawing room which we were allowed into

This is Lyudmila, who cleans up after all of us.

Our lovely models for the entire month! 

The final line up for the evaluation

A certificate presented to me by the vice rector of the academy - Andrey Sklyarenko

And finally, the awarding of the certificate.

The short 4 week immersion programme allowed me to counter-check where I am in the whole scheme of things. It expanded my palette because I was painting in natural light. Before I mostly paint under artificial lighting unless I'm outdoors. I also got insight to how Russians think and their method of doing things. And of course, I met many talented artists from around the world. In the next  few months, I'll be sifting and filtering out what I like from the both the Italian and Russian style. Looking forward to making more art! 

If you are interested in this summer programme for the following year, google "2017, Summer, Repin Academy" and that should lead you to a blog.  There are 2 sessions each year: one in June, and the other July. Have a good portfolio ready for screening and you might just find your way to this fine institution soon someday. 

Here's a great video on the instruction given during the summer school

For daily postings:


  1. I think there is not much difference between Italian and Russian painting (both constructivist-3d) but there is huge difference between French(realist/naturalist-shadows& values) and Russian/Italian. What is the difference what do you think?

    1. Hi Melih,

      The flow of history started with the Italians. The French took the knowledge and polished it to another level. Half of the French broke away from tradition and begin the impressionist movement. The Russians have their foundations based on construction. But as the painting develops, traces of influences from the first wave of impressionists (Renoir, Manet, Monet, Vangogh, etc) can be found.

      Our fellow brothers from the North (Dutch) were 200 years ahead of the Italians.

      I love the subtlety and the various influences each culture had.