In 1901, the famous painter Ilya Repin accepted a large state order to write the painting “The ceremonial meeting of the State Council on May 7, 1901”. This work was timed to the centenary of the founding of the State Council. After two years of work, a huge canvas measuring 400 × 877 cm was ready.
During the period of work on this picture, the author first applied a photographic film, which was able to reproduce a huge picture in one visual plane.
To write a picture Repin needed to carry out difficult and painstaking work. To create such a large composition, 81 etudes were written for each participant of the action. And only by portraying each member of the Council separately, Repin was able to start writing a picture as a whole. It should be noted that not all the work was done by Repin alone. Some sketches belong to Repin’s best pupils: B. M. Kustodiev and I. S. Kulikov.
This work is not only a work of art, but also serves as a historical document reflecting the full-fledged composition of the Council for the period of 1901, as well as the order in which these meetings were held.
Repin very well managed to convey the solemn and important atmosphere of the process, where representatives of the royal family and representatives of the nobility, led by Alexander I, decided the fate of the vast Russian Empire.
The Council meeting was held in the Round Hall of the Mariinsky Palace. Despite the scale of the work, the author well traced not only the figures and faces of the council members, but also the elements of the decor of the hall. Ancient Greek columns and portraits of previous emperors are drawn quite well. Obviously, Repin wanted to attract special attention of the audience to the solemn decoration of the royal halls.
The color scheme of the picture is presented in the traditional shades of nobility: red, gold, black and blue.
Today, the painting “Meeting of the State Council” is located in the exhibition hall of the State Russian Museum.