Russian beauty in paintings by Konstantin Makovsky
Russian beauty in paintings by Konstantin Makovsky. One of the most famous and talented Russian painters of the second half of the 19th century, who portrayed Russian antiquity in his paintings, is Konstantin Makovsky (1839-1915). He painted many great striking images of Boyar Russia of 17th century. His beautiful “young ladies” dressed in colorful clothes and wondrous Russian hats, and luxurious earrings and necklaces of that distant era, traced with astonishing detail.
His paintings are so accurate in reproducing the situation of that time, that can replace dozens of textbooks, and written with so much love for Russian culture that inspires admiration not only for them, but also cause the desire to know and love the rich heritage of our ancestors. Not many people know that the source of this is the accuracy and credibility of his long-standing passion – collecting items of Russian antiquity, on which he worked all his life.
Future artist Konstantin Makovsky was born June 20 (old style July 2) 1839. His father, Yegor Ivanovich, was a famous artistic figure of Moscow, one of the founders of the full-scale class. Creative atmosphere surrounded the future of the artist and his brother since childhood. His father’s house was constantly visited by the famous painters, teachers. No wonder that all children of Yegor Ivanovich – daughter Alexandra, sons Konstantin, Nikolay and Vladimir were educated in the spirit of love for the arts.
Konstantin Makovsky inherited passion for collecting from his father. He started collecting in the 1860s, investing money in the purchase of “beautiful antiques.” According to his son, “… almost every day Makovsky was roaming the antiquarians in search of Russian and non-Russian antiquities, at the flea market and the Alexander Apraksin markets.”
The most valuable collection of his acquisitions were Russian caskets with bone carving and Russian Costume (especially kokoshniks and headgear). The artist used them in his work. Note that the images of women in national costume in the XIX century became a way of expressing national idea in Russian art and related to the search of the national ideal of feminine beauty.
By the early twentieth century Konstantin Makovsky firmly entrenched status as the largest collector. He began his collecting activities as an artist, fascinated by the beauty of the material world, and ended – as an expert and authority in the field of Russian antiquity, striving to preserve the artistic heritage of Russia. For a long time engaged in gathering, communicating with major historians and collectors, he has gained extensive knowledge in this area.
In early March 1916 Petrograd newspapers published announcements about the “rich” auction “of the property remaining after the death of the famous artist and collector of Imperial Academy of Arts Professor Konstantin Makovsky”. The artist died after a tragic accident. His horse-driven carriage was hit by an electric tram on the streets of Petrograd side, he received a serious head injury from which September 17, 1915, Konstantin Makovsky died. In the catalog accompanying the auction were listed 1100 items.