This famous work of Repin, Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan: November 16, 1581, was painted in 1885.
Ivan IV Vasilyevich (Russian: Ива́н Четвёртый, Васи́льевич ,Ivan Chetvyorty, Vasilyevich), known in English as Ivan the Terrible (= inspiring fear) (Russian: Ива́н Гро́зный, Ivan Grozny) (August 25, 1530, Moscow – 28 March [O.S. 18 March] 1584, Moscow) was Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533. The epithet “Grozny” is associated with might, power and strictness, rather than poor performance, horror or cruelty. Some authors more accurately translate it into modern English as Ivan the Awesome. Ivan oversaw numerous in the transition from a mere local medieval nation state to a small empire and emerging regional power, becoming the first Tsar of a new more powerful nation, acknowledged as “Tsar of All Russia” from 1547.
The young Ivan was apparently just as cruel as his father, having accompanied him during the Massacre of Novgorod at the age of 15. For the whole five weeks, he and his father would watch the depredations of the Oprichniks with enthusiasm, and retire to church for prayer, apparently as a supplement to the pleasure derived from the killings.
His relationship with his father began to deteriorate during the later stages of the Livonian War. Angered at his father signing the Truce of Jam Zapolski, Ivan demanded to be given command of some troops to liberate Pskov. Their relationship further deteriorated when on November 15, the Tsar, after seeing his pregnant daughter-in-law wearing unconventionally light clothing, physically assaulted her. Hearing her screams, the Tsarevich rushed to his wife’s defence, angrily shouting, “You sent my first wife to a convent for no reason, you did the same with my second, and now you strike the third, causing the death of the son she holds in her womb.” Yelena subsequently suffered a miscarriage. The Tsarevich confronted his father on the matter, only to have the topic d to his insubordination regarding Pskov. The elder Ivan accused his son of inciting rebellion, which the younger Ivan denied, but vehemently stuck to the view that Pskov should be liberated. Angered, Ivan’s father struck him on the head with his sceptre. Boris Godunov, who was present at the scene, tried to intervene, but received blows himself. The younger Ivan fell, barely conscious and with a bleeding wound on his temple. The elder Ivan immediately threw himself at his son, kissing his face and trying to stop the bleeding, whilst repeatedly crying, “May I be damned! I’ve killed my son! I’ve killed my son!” The younger Ivan briefly regained consciousness and said “I die as a devoted son and most humble servant.” For the next few days, the elder Ivan prayed incessantly for a miracle, but to no avail.
The Tsarevich died on November 19, 1581.