“A man with an evil eye” refers to the Chuguev period of the author’s creation. Everything in Chuguev predisposed Repin to work. The inspiration that was born here gave birth to many truly great canvases of that time.
Many called Repin a mystical artist. He worked like a god, forgetting everything during work. According to eyewitnesses, violently, sometimes angrily waving a brush, as if he was angry with his sitters.
By a strange coincidence, many people who posed for Repin while painting portraits were ill and even died. Their death was often unnatural.
Pisemsky, Tyutchev, Mussorgsky “suffered” from the brush of the master. "Barge Haulers" - men who were healthy before posing, after painting, too, began to die. But, sometimes, the author himself was sick.
Known fact: the painting "John the Terrible and his son Ivan" paralyzed the hand of the artist, and later led to the craziness of the icon painter Balashov, who was furiously cut with a knife. The painting “A Man with an Evil Eye” is also endowed with the same mystical power, in which Repin portrayed a simple man - his godfather Ivan Radov, who is notorious for the local Chuguev sorcerer.
The artist compared the man with Zeus, covering his body with a spacious zipun. Only rustic clothing distinguishes the sitter from the inhabitant of Hellas. Repin so naturally prescribes details that even the severity of the gaze is felt. After the portrait was painted, the artist was in a fever. In many ways, this circumstance determined the name of the picture.
The portrait “A Man with an Evil Eye” took part in the International Exhibition in 1878. Admiration of connoisseurs knew no bounds. Kramskoy was especially vividly speaking, who put Repin on the top step among all portrait painters, putting Vasnetsov next to him, perhaps.
Peter Paul Rubens