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GREAT RUSSIAN ART - 'St. Nicholas Saves 3 Innocents' (Ilya Repin,1888)

So rich in all the arts, Russia produced a treasure of great painting, mostly in the 2nd half of the 19th century, but also, significantly, since the end of Communism. On Sunday mornings we are pleased to bring you the excellent Great Russian Christian Art series from Russian Faith, a site about the extraordinary Christian renaissance in Russia, manifested through the rebirth of the Russian Orthodox Church. 

Russian Faith has selected works with Christian themes, but all of these artists created magnificent secular works too, and they are popular and well-known to the Russian public. These paintings give great insight into Russian history, culture, religion and psychology and are huge fun to view. Enjoy.

From Russian Faith:

As we work our way through an enormous cache of fascinating Russian Christian paintings, we can't help but fall in love with some of them.

About The Series:

As we learned about Russia's traditional faith, Russian Orthodox Christianity, we discovered an enormous, mostly forgotten treasure of striking Christian paintings, mostly unknown in the West, starting from approximately the early 1800s, and continuing to this day.

So far we have cataloged over 150 images, and are discovering more all the time. We will gradually be getting them all online.

'St. Nicholas Saves 3 Innocents' - a painting was finished in 1888. It is part of the collection of the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. The size of the picture - 85''× 77''

Link to high resolution image.

The plot of the picture is associated with one of the acts of St. Nicholas (approximate dates of life - 270—345 AD), which he performed when he was a bishop in the World of Lycian (or the World of Lycian) - a city located in Lycia (now this place is located on the territory of the Turkish province of Antalya). It is with the name of this city that the famous nickname of St. Nicholas - "Mirlikij" - is connected.

Being away, Nikolay Mirlikiysky received the news that the mundane mayor Eustathius condemned to execution three innocent people, bought off by their ill-wishers. Desiring to stop injustice, Nikolay hastily returned to Mira and reached Dioskurov's field, where the execution was to be carried out, just at that moment when the executioner was already ready to proceed to the execution of the sentence.

It is this moment when Nicholas stops the sword of the executioner, brought over the first of the convicts, and was depicted by the artist.


Ilya Yefimovich Repin was born in Chuguyev, in Kharkov Governorate, Russian Empire into a family of "military settlers".  He was the most renowned Russian artist of the 19th century, when his position in the world of art was comparable to that of Leo Tolstoy in literature. He played a major role in bringing Russian art into the mainstream of European culture. His major works include Barge Haulers on the Volga (1873), Religious Procession in Kursk Province (1883) and Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks (1880–91).

More about the Great Russian Christian Art series:

Russia has a wonderfully rich heritage of Christian and Bible-themed painting which reached its zenith in the second half of the 19th century, as part of the realist school. Many of the canvases are enormous, filling an entire wall of a large public hall. Some of them took decades to complete. They are a striking and beautiful testimony to how deeply ingrained Christianity is in Russian history, culture, philosophy, thought, indeed, in her very soul. They are a delight to behold.

As Russia emerges as a leader in the return to traditionalism, this style of painting is again in vogue, and there are also several contemporary Christian painters creating extraordinary canvases. Indeed, Moscow has an excellent art academy dedicated to this style, a topic we covered in the profile of Ilya Glazunov, a leading, recently deceased painter in this genre.  See: A Conservative Russian Lion With Real Mass Influence – The Painter Ilya Glazunov

Many of these paintings and artists are hardly known in the West, dismissed by the secular, atheist, globalist modern 'art' vogue. We are delighted to bring you this series, which consists of several dozens of works. You can see all of the works in this series by clicking here.

We think you’ll enjoy them as much as we do.

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