Studying for an Exam
Created in the traditions of the Russian school of genre painting of the 1840s and 1850s, this candid and humorous work betrays the excellent professional training, attention to details and realistic aspirations of the twenty-year-old artist. Studying for an Exam also reflects the influence of Repin’s first teachers — the slightly naïve and poetic reproduction of life by the painters of Chuguyev in Kharkiv Province. Alternatively titled Aerial Kiss, the painting depicts the two brothers of the artist’s future wife — Alexander Shevtsov (student of architecture at the Imperial Academy of Arts) and Alexei Shevtsov (grammar-school student). Repin was at that time living with the family on the Fifteenth Line of Vasilyevsky Island.