The Negro Woman, which was so different from Repin’s usual letter form, was created in Paris under the influence of the works of the famous Fortuny, whom the author adored.
Repin did not try to imitate his idol, but at the same time, he stretched himself in his art because of the inaccessibility of the sense of form that Fortuny had masterly owned.
The artist created a portrait, caring for his model. He saw in her not the exotic, but the beauty of the soul. Such an unusual for him letter made it more painstaking to pick colors and he managed to achieve the perfect combination.
In Russia, the picture remained unknown for a long time, until 1939, when it was transferred to the Russian Museum. Critics did not rush to admire the creation of Repin, evaluated “Ebony” carefully, even cautiously. Many did not perceive the work as a painting at all, calling it a sketch.
The author himself appreciated his creation enthusiastically. He let something new into his work, and the result was amazing.
Repin portrayed the “Ebony” inspired beautiful woman who has nothing to do with European standards, but with a clear sense of self-esteem and emphasized elegance.
Love for the common man, respect for him has always been inherent in Repin’s work. They did not change him in the African theme. The artist all his life was faithful to his principles and deeply appreciated democracy in the national art.
Few of the artists of the past era can be compared with Repin. Only he managed to convey exactly the reality surrounding him, framing it with the fate of people and, at the same time, master the brush.
“Negro” – one of the last successful works of Repin. After 1880, his creative activity began to fade, he continued to work hard, but he no longer created masterpieces.