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The first meeting of the artists Ilya Repin and Valentin Serov happened when Serov was not even seven years old. When the father of Valentine, a famous musician, died, Repin came to his funeral. A year later, Valentine began to paint in the workshop of Repin. Subsequently, Repin greatly appreciated Serov’s talent as a painter, noting also his indefatigable industriousness and perseverance. Since childhood, Valentine has shown remarkable abilities, which, with the help of an older friend, grew stronger from year to year.
The artists carried friendship through their whole lives; it is funny that in their work there are paired paintings, for example, Portrait of Sofya Dragomirova. Apparently, the artists painted her at the same time; the young woman in the portraits of Serov and Repin is depicted in the same, very remarkable outfit and in the same pose.
Naturally, the friendship of the two artists could not but result in drawing each other; There are two famous portraits of Repin painted by Serov and two portraits of Serov painted by Repin. Portraits of Serov are not very different from each other, although between them lies four years; it may seem that the same sketch is rotated in a mirror and slightly modified.
Repin portrays Serov as a slightly obese, awkward man, solid and serious; the artist looks directly at the viewer, but slightly sullenly, as if shy. His hand lies on the arm of the chair, his head is slightly pulled into the shoulders. Despite the official suit, with a jacket and waistcoat, worn on Serov, the portrait seems intimate and homely, not ceremonial - only his close friend could depict the hero.
Vasily Ivanovich Surikov Pictures