Some claim that Repin’s sister-in-law is depicted on the canvas. If you look at the picture more closely, you will immediately see that it was from this canvas that Repin began to better convey life directly, as it is, without adding any decorations.
In the middle of the canvas is a young girl in a voluminous black dress with long sleeves. The dress is rather poorly decorated with some simple cuffs and a collar of linen. The dress no longer has any additional details and decorations, besides a brooch in the chest or a large button, which is barely noticeable in the picture.
Turning now to the very image of the girl, she is quite beautiful and has gorgeous curly long hair of red color with a golden sheen. The hair seems to shine and seem even more voluminous, due to the fact that the light source is behind the sitting woman.
The main heroine of the picture was washed in a soft armchair with a high back, rounded type and upholstered under velvet. The canvas has a neutral background, which is made with very sweeping strokes. The dress has very prominently traced folds, which are simultaneously highlighted from the side and from behind.
Thanks to this technique, the silhouette of the girl looks volumetric, and not flat. Also worth noting is the face of the girl, which has become even more expressive and prominent, relative to the background.
The girl enthusiastically reads a letter, the envelope of which is torn and lies on her lap. The letter seemed to shine a light on her face. In turn, the girl reads the letter so enthusiastically that she opened her mouth a little. But the secret of this canvas lies elsewhere.
Initially it may seem that the girl is holding the letter with both hands, but in fact, the second hand from behind the chair is not her. And thanks to this calm plot gets some intrigue.