During his late work period, to which the painting “Violinist” belongs, his brush became more brave and a plain painting of Itinerants yielded to a facile impressionistic manner. Having been a subtle observer of human nature, Makovsky depicts the state of enthusiastic violin playing. Most likely on the portrait of violinist a man from the artist’s inner circle was shown, one of the participants of musical evenings, which took place in an academician house of the artist.
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.