Ilya Repin met his first wife, Vera, when he was nineteen years old, and his future wife was nine. They got married a decade later, and four children were born in this marriage. The eldest daughter was also named Faith; she was a favorite of the artist. After the parents divorced, the girl, unlike the younger siblings, remained with her father; as an adult, she served for several years at the Alexandrinsky Theater, and then moved to her father in Finland, in Penates.
There are several portraits of the artist’s eldest daughter, made at different times, but the most famous, without a doubt, is the portrait of little Vera in a gilded armchair. The baby is depicted in a feminine hat with a flower; if it weren’t for the hat, then it could be mistaken for a boy, short-cropped. The pretty, focused face of the child is very serious; the girl diligently poses for her father, apparently, at his urgent request. In Vera’s hands are toys, a ball and a wooden horse, which she grips tightly.
The girl is wearing an elegant dress, black with white stripes, white sleeves and a collar; white tights and black boots complete the picture. A neat and obedient girl in formal clothes on this canvas is just the same as an example of an ideal child. The portrait is photographically accurate; looking at the artist’s later works, which depict the same model, we can see how the artist’s daughter grew and was transformed.
Despite the constant employment, Ilya Efimovich tried to give his children as much attention as possible. He even tried to teach them painting; but only Vera succeeded in drawing, diligently imitating her father. The girl grew up in a cheerful, energetic girl and, according to contemporaries, she was the soul of the Repins family. Only with her Ilya Efimovich could talk on equal terms, as with an adult.
Mother And Child Picasso