Vladimir Makovsky – famous artist
Vladimir Makovsky (1846-1920) is one of the most famous Russian artists of the second half of the XIX century. He was an active participant of the famous Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions. His work was highly valued by Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Peter Tchaikovsky, Ivan Kramskoy. Vladimir Stasov called Makovsky a true national painter and claimed that he occupied a particularly significant place as an artist of the main, universal stream of people’s life.
His father Yegor Ivanovich was friends with the famous Moscow portrait painter Vasily Tropinin and famous Karl Brullov. Also he was a collector of paintings of Russian artists and ancient European engravings and drawings. By the way, he took an active part in the organization of the first art class in Moscow, from which the famous Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture began. And it is not surprising that his sons Vladimir and Konstantin became artists, whose work was widely recognized by contemporaries.
In 1866 Makovsky graduated from the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture and in 1869 the Academic Council awarded him the title of a class artist.
The first works of Makovsky were close to the prose Notes of a Hunter by Ivan Turgenev and to the poems of Nikolai Nekrasov. Some pictures were devoted to the village children, others – to the quiet moments of joy in the lives of poor people. Perhaps the picture Collector of Paintings and Drawings is a kind of parody on his father’s hobby. But it was painted with gentle humor, the grotesque image of the collector evoked good feelings.
Babki (Knucklebones) painted in 1870 became the most famous picture created in those years. Makovsky managed to fill the life of village boys with a feeling of pure joy.
From the mid-1870s, Makovsky, like many progressive figures of Russian culture of that time, tried to express his attitude to the social life, to act as a defender of poor people.
The painting Visiting the Poor (1874) shows absurdity and worthlessness of the act of charity by a rich woman for the fate of the poor family. A small gift only strengthens the consciousness of despair. The painting The Collapse of the Bank (1881) depicts the tragedy of many “little” people at once.
Since the 1890s, Makovsky’s attention was focused on the development of the revolutionary movement in Russia. To tell the truth, the artist worked on such pictures for a long time. It took him eleven years to finish the picture Condemned. The artist had been working on the painting Party for twenty-two years. Actually, it became one of the most famous paintings of the master.
Makovsky was the creator of sharply social paintings, master of genre painting. He felt the beauty of the world around him, carefully observed people, created illustrations for the works of Russian writers. Portraits painted by the artist in different periods of his work are very interesting.
Life and work of Makovsky were a true example of honest civil service to the Russian people. Thus, he earned deep respect among his contemporaries, was recognized as one of the most popular painters of Russia and took an important place in the history of the development of Russian art.