Repin and Ljuba


Sadko in the Underwater Kingdom (1876).

This painting by Russian artist Ilya Yefimovich Repin (1844–1930) is included in one of my Symbolist art books despite its pre-dating the Symbolist period and there being little else in the artist’s career which might suit the label. It’s a curious picture, however, illustrating a medieval folk tale and depicting the moment when the Sadko of the title is forced by the Sea Tsar to choose a wife from a line of aquatic maidens. It was art historian Philippe Jullian who had me returning to Repin, and the reminder gives me an excuse to post something by Serbian Surrealist Ljuba (aka Ljuba Popovic) whose colours, fauna and metamorphic female figures are a match for Repin’s sirens. Last time I looked for Ljuba pictures there were few available, a situation which has now been remedied by blogs such as this one.


Lot and Lotus (1972).

Previously on { feuilleton }
The art of Ivan Bilibin, 1876–1942
Magic carpet ride
Short films by Walerian Borowczyk
The art of Ljuba Popovic

6 thoughts on “Repin and Ljuba”

  1. love your blog. this might be the most beautiful painting that ive ever seen. If it werent for you i may have never discovered it. thanks!!

  2. Both wonderful paintings, but Ljuba Popovic is new to me (at least, i dont recall seeing his work before). Incredible. Despite my ravings about psychedelia, posts like these are why i love your blog. Theres nothing like finding something new to stimulate the senses.
    Philippe Jullian is a hero of mine, a brilliant and scathing writer. Dreamers of Decadence is possibly the best (or at least most entertaining) book on art ive ever read.Must get round to that book on the exposition..

  3. I’ve been buying some of Jullian’s other books and will be making a post about the man in due course. When I have the time, that is…

  4. It’s a shame that Repin did not do more works of this vein. His other works are good in their own right, but for me apart from ‘Sadko’, the only other piece that really shines is ‘Ivan the Terrible’
    Thanks for posting the Ljuba link, I’d searched online a while ago to see more of his work but to no avail. It’s an interesting blog. (Ben Tolman’s own work can be seen here )
    I’m really interested to see your Jullian post, I have ‘Dreamers of Decadence’ and ‘The Symbolists’ and whilst I don’t agree with all of his opinions upon certain artists, I do really rate the style of the books and they contain some excellent art.

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