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Constantin Makovsky Russian, 1839-1915Type: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 13 x 10 inches
Frame Dimensions: 20 x 16 3/4 inches
Signature: (l.l.) C. Makovsky
Portrait of a Young Girl

About the Artist

Constantin Yegorovich Makovsky was an influential Russian painter, affiliated with the Wanderers’. Many of his historical paintings, such as The Russian Bride’s Attire (1889), showed an idealized view of Russian life of prior centuries. He is often considered a representative of a Salon art.

Constantin was born in Moscow as the older son of a Russian art figure and amateur painter, Yegor Ivanovich Makovsky. Yegor Makovsky was the founder of Natural Class the art school that later became known as the famous Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Among the friends of the family were Karl Briullov and Vasily Tropinin. All children of Yegor became notable painters, like his equally famous brother Vladimir. Later Constantin wrote “For what I became I think I should thank not the Academy or Professors but only my father.”

In 1851, Constantin entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture where he became the top student, easily getting all the available awards. In 1858, he entered the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg. From 1860, he participated in the academy’s exhibitions. In 1863 Makovsky, together with the other 13 students eligible to participate in the competition for the Large Gold Medal of the academy, refused to paint on the set topic of Scandinavian mythology and instead left without a formal diploma. Makovsky became a member of a co-operative (artel) of artists led by Ivan Kramskoi, typically producing Wanderers’ paintings. He became a founding member of the Society for Traveling Art Exhibitions and continued to work on paintings devoted to everyday life.

A significant change in his style occurred after traveling to Egypt and Serbia in the mid-1870s. His interests changed from social and psychological problems to the artistic problems of colors and shape. In the 1880s he became a fashioned author of portraits and historical paintings.

At the World’s Fair of 1889 in Paris he received the Large Gold Medal. He was one of the most highly appreciated and highly paid Russian artists of the time. Many democratic critics considered him as a renegade of the Wanderers’ ideals, producing striking but shallow works, while others see him as a forerunner of Russian Impressionism.
Makovsky became a victim of a road accident (his horse-driven carriage was hit by an electric tram) and died in 1915 in Saint Petersburg.

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