Does Vladimir Putin Seem to Appear in this 19th-Century Ilya Repin Painting?

The resemblance is striking, you have to admit.

Ilya Repin's 1878 painting of pilgrims from the province of Kursk, from the Tretyakov State Gallery.

In addition to being a major topic of discussion in last night’s debate among Republican presidential hopefuls, Russian president Vladimir Putin is in the news for a more unusual reason today.

Putin and his foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, may have doppelgangers in an 1878 painting by Russian artist Ilya Repin (1844-1930), hanging at Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery. Russian radio journalist Marina Korolyova spotted the bizarre likeness, as reported by the Daily Mail.

Vladimir Putin and Sergey Lavrov, the Russian president and foreign minister.Photo: Courtesy of Wikipedia.

President Vladimir Putin and foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.
Photo: Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Putin has amassed dictatorial powers, but has he even gained the power to travel through time and to bring Sergey “Lap Dog” Lavrov with him? Or was Repin able to see the future?

We know that Repin was interested in politics; according to the Tretyakov’s website, “the dominating themes in his work were condemnation of the ruling elite in Russian society and revolutionary struggle.” However, he also wrote that he was “a man of the 1860s,” so his interest in the 21st century is apparently not established.

Repin, a realist painter, is known for historical paintings and genre works as well as portraits, dozens of which are owned by the gallery. The painting in question shows two pilgrims from the province of Kursk and was painted 74 years before Putin was born.

Repin’s paintings have fetched as much as $4.5 million, the price for an 1875 painting of a Parisian café, sold at Christie’s London in 2011.

Ilya Repin's 1878 painting of pilgrims from the province of Kursk, from the Tretyakov State Gallery.

Ilya Repin’s 1878 painting of pilgrims from the province of Kursk, from the State Tretyakov Gallery.
Image: Courtesy East2West News.

The Daily Mail, by the way, has been all over the “unlikely artistic likeness” beat lately, having recently claimed to have found Banksy posing as a parking attendant.

The State Tretyakov Gallery didn’t immediately respond to a request for information.

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