Ivan the Terrible Kills His Son

The painting "Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan" by Russian painter Ilya Repin
The painting "Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan" by Russian painter Ilya Repin

Historical Context

Ivan the Terrible transformed Russia in his forty year reign, often at immense human cost, and not without leaving an historical legacy known primarily for his episodic outbreaks of mental illness and rage.

The most infamous of these outbreaks occurred on or around the night of November 16, 1581, when the Tsar killed his son and heir, Ivan Ivanovich. This occurred after the Tsar assaulted his daughter-in-law, who he felt was wearing unconventionally light clothing. When the younger Ivan rushed in and confronted his father, the elder struck him on the head with his scepter, and he died on November 19.

In his painting Repin was inspired by the famous painting The Return of the Prodigal Son, as well as others

Painting Info


Artist: Ilya Repin

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Related Events

  • 1581-11-16 Tsar Ivan the Terrible attacks his son and heir, Ivan Ivanovich, with a scepter after an argument leading to the latter's death three days later
  • 1581-11-19 Tsarevich Ivan Ivanovich dies after being attacked by his father Ivan the Terrible three days earlier

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