Makovsky Volodymyr

Contemplation 75х51 сm, oil on canvas, 1907
About work

The picture “Contemplation” is painted in a light sweeping manner. This work is related to the late painting period of the artist. The master departs from a typical and classic manner of a plain painting of Itinerants. V. Makovsky often turned to a composition of one figure with skillful placing of images in the everyday scenes. The artist skillfully revealed the typical features of human characters. In this case gentle and even touching portrait of a girl creates the atmosphere of the contemplation of pleasant moments in a young person’s life. V. Makovsky subtle depicts a dreamy nature of the sitter. The blue spots of ornament on a chair smoothly combined a dark background with a light figure of the sitting girl; as a result warm colours of the picture are brightened with colder tints. A special attention the artist pays to lighting. It smoothly slides along the figure giving a sentimental spirit to the whole image. Thanks to the lively manner of painting the master seems to paint the portrait for one sitting, giving purity and freshness of the perception to the canvas. Though in truth V. Makovsky worked at images thoroughly, what adds more persuasiveness to this portrait. The artist had ever said: “A picture is not a word, it gives only one minute, and in this minute should be everything; if not, there is no painting.”

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Makovsky Volodymyr Egorovich
(1846, Moscow – 1920, Petrograd)

Vladimir Egorovich Makovsky was one of the best genre painters of his time; he belonged to the great pleiad of Russian artists at the close of XIX – the beginning of XX centuries. Grown up in the famous artist family of Makovskys, he was a son of E.I. Makovsky, who was one of the founders of Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, and a brother of artists Alexandra, Konstantin, Nikolay and a father of Alexander Makovsky. His first artist’s skills Vladimir Egorovich obtained in his family, then in 1858 entered Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where he was a student of V.A. Tropinin and S. K. Zoryanko. Vladimir Makovsky was known as an active participant of Society for Circulating Art Exhibitions. Genre paintings of Vladimir Makovsky belong to the most typical and classic example of the Itinerants’ art.

The painter V. Makovsky was notable for a keenness of observation and in his paintings he showed the spirit of the life of various estates and social strata of society. He painted dignitaries as well as haunters of tavern and dosshouses. Sometimes compositions of Makovsky are extremely good-natured, and devoted their lives to concerns and joys of “small people”. One of such paintings is a canvas “Nightingale Amateurs”, thanks to which the artist took a status of academician. Fedor Dostoevsky wrote about his creation: “…as for me, in these small paintings there is even love to the whole mankind, and not only to Russians especially”.

His unpretentious and truthful scenes of everyday life may be safely called the best in creation of the artist.

Most likely the portrait of violinist depicts a man from the artist’s inner circle, apparently one of the participants of musical evenings, which took place in the academician house of the artist. Professors of the Academia and people from musical circles – professionals and amateurs as well – were invited to these evenings. It’s known that P.Briullov, G. Miasoedov, the sculpture L. Posen were frequenters of these evenings. In this flat quartets, trios, quintets were formed. The repertory consisted of compositions by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Glinka. It is also known that the personage of the violinist is a central image of the painting “Musical Evening”, which was painted by the artist in 1906. V. Makovsky himself began to practice music at a mature age under the direction of good teachers, and he played violin wonderful, moreover he had got a rare violin of Guarneri.

Quite a number of works the artist devoted to “new people”. Being the head of the board of Society for Circulating Art Exhibitions, and first of all the genre painter, V. Makovsky was a wonderful portraitist. The quantity of his portraits is not large, but they play a significant role in his creation and in that time they obtained positive contemporaries’ responses. V. Makovsky is near to the tasks of the portrait genre of Perov, Kramskoy and Repin, and namely to a disclosure of man’s inner world. The artist mainly painted the portraits of Russian intelligentsia. They are always of modest colouring and masterly painted. As often as not V. Makovsky depicted near to him people, which he knew well and thought them highly. In his portrait genre we could always feel his warm relation to a man depicted.

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