The painting "Preparing for the exam" is one of the early works of the artist. It was written in 1864, when Repin was only 20 years old. Probably, in the work we see a reflection of the reality that just surrounded the artist at such a young age.
Before us is a domestic plot. Two boys are preparing for the exam, but preparation is progressing extremely poorly. The plot unfolds, most likely, in a student boarding house, where the boys lived several people in one room. One of the students read the book long and hard. But he was tired and this business bored him. Now he is fast asleep on the couch, holding in his hands a volume of some apparently boring book. His pose is relaxed, serene. The second student, pictured in the foreground, is not much better engaged than the first. He is sitting at the desk. Around scattered books, items for writing. The boy is sitting relaxed, dangling his legs under the table. On the student’s head is a cap. But Repin decided to intentionally emphasize the comic nature of the situation, so he drew a small panicle to his cap, which hangs like a broom on the student’s forehead. Near the chair on which the student sits, a small black dog lay down.
The background of the work takes the viewer out of the student room. Ilya Repin depicts very large windows that visually increase the space of the room. We see that outside the windows is another building. Perhaps this is a female school or boarding house. One of the windows shows a pink-cheeked girl. In a light blue dress, she sits and reads a book near the window. But she is less interested in reading than a young, handsome guy outside the window. She smiles at him.
The picture conveys to us the spirit of youth, youth. Every detail reminds of carefree years of student life. The sun is shining, the first birds are singing, the desire to learn completely disappears.
Kiss Sneakily Fragonard