Ilya Repin: The Zaporozhian Cossacks write a letter to the Sultan of Turkey (1880-1891)


(State Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia)

This famous painting of Repin is supposedly a historical tableau. According to the legend, sultan Mehmed IV send an ultimatum to the Zaporozhian Cossacks in which he demanded their surrender - even after the Ottoman armies had been defeated by the cossacks. The cossacks send a reply to the Ottoman sultan, replete with insults and profanities. Repin shows the cossacks busy writing the letter and having fun with thinking of ever more base vulgarities. Painting from 1880–1891.

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