Ilya Repin was Russia's greatest art masters in the late 19th century. Barge Haulers on the Volga was his masterpiece which depicted the barge haulers on the Volga. On the composition of the picture, he used the beach topography and the turning point of river bends, making the eleven haulers like status with profound tension. The colors employed on the background were dim and misty that gave us feelings of melancholy, loneliness and helplessness, which played an important role in the embodiment of theme and the emotion.
In this painting, Repin made an ingenious layout on the VolgaRiver scenery, used long and narrow banner to show the group of these haulers. On the riverbank, the sun shone strongly and the beach deserted, only to see several broken basket in close shot. A group of trackers pulled the cargo, their paces plodded, and it seemed that we could hear the repressed and muffled echo. The sun baked the banks, but the haulers dirt and scrubby hair in rags, struggled forward at the high temperature. This painting reflected the suffering of the haulers, for they not only struggled against the nature, but ruthless fate and society.
Through careful observation, we could see the artist's thoughts and feelings that penetrated in each person, the colors and the layout of scenery, which was his dissatisfaction with Russia's reactionary rules and deep sympathy for the working people. When Repin depicted this picture, he observed sequentially from front to back, and seized the characteristics of the characters’ clothing, appearance, demeanor, so that each character has a distinct personality.