Religious Procession in Kursk Governorate

Religious Procession in Kursk Governate

“Religious Procession in Kursk Governate” is a Russian realist painting by Ilya Repin, was part of the Wanderers. The Wanderers were a group of painters who dropped out of the Art Academy so they would not have to follow the rules of the Academy. “Religious Procession in Kursk Governate” was completed between 1880 to 1883.

The work shows a annual religious procession carrying the famous icon Our Lady of Kursk from its home in the Korrennaya monastery to  the City of Kursk. The painting depicts a procession of mostly peasants, but also beggars and cripples, police, military officers, and member of the provincial elite. The work continues Repin’s commentary on the Church and State. Examples of this include, a bored priest behind the idol straightening his hair, various police officers using their riding crops to beat back the crowd from getting to close to the idol, and peasants  holding empty icon cases just as with much as much reverence as the actual icon is being held with.

Possible themes of the piece could be abuse of power by both the Church and the State and discrimination by the upper classes onto the lower classes. I am drawn to this because it lays bare the inter-workings of the Orthodoxy Religion. Here we have this religious procession and some of the priests are taking it less seriously than the peasants and other members of the lower classes.

Source : Religious Procession in Kursk Governorate. (2018, August 22). Retrieved from


11 thoughts on “Religious Procession in Kursk Governorate

  1. I find this painting interesting, because it seems like this procession is less of a religious act rather than a political one. One would think that a procession like this, the people would be happy and rejoicing, because that is usually how people feel about their faith. But I feel like this picture shows that this is more of a cultural faith, rather than a personal one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a stunning painting! I really like how he even painted all of the dust flying up as the procession marches – it’s an interesting detail that easily could have been left out. I definitely agree that it’s a criticism of the Church, it depicts the Church as a burden upon the shoulders of the masses. Great post!


  3. I agree with Alicia — Even if the procession is a religious activity, the political commentary of the painting is unmistakable. Thanks so much for writing about this painting, Alex! It’s such a magnificent and powerful work. I think it poses hard questions to the viewer about faith, redemption and power — topics that were dear to Repin and the Wanderers. What sources did you use for the post? And is there a link to the source of the image?


  4. The plight of the citizens involved in the procession is captured very well. The the fact the artist responsible came from the Wanders gives the painting much more ethos, specifically in touching on the class issues outlined in your post.


  5. How do you think the role of the Church in Russian society compares to that of other countries. Do you think that there are any similarities between the role that the church plays in Russia, and the role that the church plays in Italy? What about Muslim countries?


  6. This painting is so complex, and I think it’s really powerful! The contradictions between the common people and the religious authorities definitely shows the political component to religion, and highlights the issues that arose in Russia with the strong connections between church and state.


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