The Finnish news site Suomen Kuvalehti reported this significant change. In 2021 Repin was listed as a Russian artist, although with an addition that he was born on the territory of modern Ukraine. Since that time, Ukrainians have regularly applied to the museum to restore historical justice.
Among those who applied to the museum with a request to change Repin's nationality is a Ukrainian journalist, from Ukrainska Pravda, Anna Lodygina, who wrote an exhaustive article in which she identified the true nationality of the artist and his family.
During the preparation of the material, she asked for more information about his life in Finland. The museum curator sent her an article saying that Repin's parents were Russian and were born in the Moscow region.
In response, Lodygina sent evidence that this was not the case; church documents showed that the artist's father and grandfather were born on the territory of Ukraine.
She identified that, at a large exhibition of Repin's works which the museum held together with the Tretyakov Gallery and the Museum of Russian Art six months before the full-scale invasion, Repin was introduced as a Russian artist.
According to the journalist, she discussed the artist's ethnicity with the main curator of the exhibition, Timo Guusco.
“In one of the letters, he sent a link to his material, which indicated that Repin's parents were Russians born in the Moscow region. I appealed to Olga Shevchenko, deputy director for research at the Repin Museum in Chuguev, to send copies from Metric books of the artist's family, as proof that his roots are Ukrainian, not Russian,” the journalist recalled.
According to Lodygina, information from the museum in Chuhuiv was crucial for the Athenaeum:
“A little later, I found out that now under Repin's painting in a new exhibition it is written that he is a Ukrainian artist.”
The Finnish Museum has been working for more than two years to finally decide on Repin's nationality.
Among those who raised the issue of changing the allocation of Repin's nationality in the media is a Finnish musician of Ukrainian origin Lukasz Stasevsky.
Finally, the museum has decided to categorize Repin as Ukrainian when preparing the exhibition “A Matter of Time”, which included one of the artist's works.
A KyivPost article last year identified how Repin glorified his native Ukraine and its Cossack legacy in his paintings and his origins.
The trend of returning the names of Ukrainian artists in world museums
February 2023, the Metro in New York recognized Ilya Repin and Ivan Aivazovsky as Ukrainian, not Russian artists in relation to Repin’s portrait of the writer Vsevolod Garshin and a seascape byAivazovsky.
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