Search for over 100 million sold objects in our Price Bank

From the everyday life of the Russian Boyar in the late XVII century
Sold

About the object

Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky, 1839-1915, From the everyday life of the Russian Boyar in the late XVII century\nSigned in Cyrillic l.l. and dated 1868\nOil on canvas\n93 by 109.5cm., 36½ by 43in.
GB
GB
GB

notes

From the Everyday Life of the Russian Boyar in the late XVII Century belongs to Konstantin Makovsky's early period, which is renowned for its large historical canvasses. This painting is one of the artist's first treatments of the boyar theme, produced here as a genre piece. His subjects are not famous historical figures but rather characteristic types which demonstrate the lifestyle, costumes and habits of people in the distant past. It was, in fact, Makovsky's 'period drama' paintings that were most popular during his lifetime. The Russian aristocracy took particular pleasure in 'recognising' their ancestors amongst the handsome and noble boyars depicted by the artist, which somehow was meant to show their close connection to their Russian roots.

Makovsky amassed a personal collection of items from Russia's ancient past: decorative artefacts: goblets, ladles and loving-cups, and costumes: sleeveless jackets, sarafans, and head-dresses. These were all used when working on paintings. Many important people later asked Makovsky for portraits of themselves wearing clothes from his collection. After the artist's death, items from this collection were put up for auction and sold over a period of four days.

The offered work depicts the ritual kiss, a ceremony which Russians performed for their guests in the 16th and 17th centuries as a token of great respect and friendship. It was a complex ceremony requiring the exchange of bows and the drinking of wine while toasting each other. After the feast the master of the household would order his opulently attired wife to approach the guest, kiss the cup of wine and then hand it to him herself. Sometimes, as a sign of special favour, the guest was permitted to give the lady of the house a kiss on the lips. This ritual formed the basis for the conflict in Aleksei Tolstoy's Prince Serebryannyi (first published in 1852). In 1895 Makovsky painted The Kissing Rite (fig.1). The canvas presented for this auction is his first handling of this subject and does not draw on Tolstoy's novel but is taken directly from the folk tradition. In this case, the picture probably shows a matchmaking scene or the ceremonial displaying of the bride; the girl shown is likely not to be the master's wife, but his daughter, as suggested by the difference in age. This explains many striking features of the painting: the girl's pale face and embarrassment; the intense interest with which the distinguished guest is examining the young beauty; the gesture of benediction made by the agitated lady of the house; the curiosity of the woman standing in the doorway, who could be the young noblewoman's nanny.

The painting is one of Konstantin Makovsky's best works from the 1860s. The types and characters are varied, expressive and very accurately portrayed. The interior and still-life elements of the picture - the carpets, tablecloth, chair, costumes, staff and books lying on the bench - are all beautifully rendered. These combine to achieve a sense of illusion, and the still-life with the icons in the left-hand corner of the canvas is masterfully executed. This painting shows no sign of the careless brush which one sees in the artist's later works. What is more, the details of Makovsky's signature had taken on a definitive form by the time of this painting, and are entirely recognisable, for instance his characteristic slanting brushstroke. The artist's virtuoso ability to depict the texture of material sets this work apart: the silky down of the fur, the transparency of the veil, the play of light on the satins and silks, the relief of a pattern embroidered with gold thread. One feels the presence of a great master celebrating Russia's noble past with his ornate, decorative and somewhat theatrical canvasses.

We are grateful to Elena Nesterova for providing this note.

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

K.E. Makovsky

exhibited

St. Petersbrug, The Imperial Academy of Arts, 1868

dimensions

93 by 109.5cm., 36½ by 43in.

literature

F.I.Bulgakov, Al'bom russkoi zhivopisi: Kartiny K.E.Makovskogo, St. Petersburg, 1892, mentioned

F.I.Bulgakov, Nashi khudozhniki, St. Petersburg: Tipografiya A.S.Suvorina, 1890, vol. II, p.45


*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.

*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.


Advert
Advert

Sold objects

Pollock, Jackson
Sold

Pollock, Jackson

Realised Price
24,755,148 GBP

Les Amoureux
Sold

Les Amoureux

Realised Price
21,396,656 GBP

Kandinsky, Wassily
Sold

Kandinsky, Wassily

Realised Price
17,914,257 GBP

Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig
Sold

Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig

Realised Price
17,207,051 GBP

Buste de femme au chapeau
Sold

Buste de femme au chapeau

Realised Price
16,302,608 GBP

Withdrawn
Sold

Rothko, Mark

Realised Price
13,689,819 GBP

Sold

Le Grand cirque

Realised Price
12,057,568 GBP

Sold

Meidner, Ludwig

Realised Price
11,019,002 GBP

Sold

Wheels: Industrial New York

Realised Price
10,318,175 GBP

Sold

Diebenkorn, Richard

Realised Price
7,952,241 GBP