Makovsky – “Down the aisle”

Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky was born into a family that considers art to be the meaning of life.

Konstantin Yegorovich inherited his passion for collecting art objects, antiques, folk crafts, and applied art from his father. He not only continued collecting, but also used the treasures of the Russian object culture collected during his trips around the country in his numerous paintings.

Multi-figure compositions such as “Choosing a Bride by Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich”, “Maslenitsa in St. Petersburg”, “Boyar’s Wedding Feast” and many portraits of “Boyaryn” and “Boyarishen” are full of authentic ethnographic details, conveyed with ease and artistry.

In his artistic career, KE Makovsky enjoyed incredible success from a young age, as a portrait painter, as the creator of paintings of the “boyar cycle”. He earned a lot of money, he could afford a lot, but according to the testimony of his contemporaries, he lived very modestly, investing all the free money in his collection.

In the painting Down the Aisle, Makovsky turns to the timeless plot of the wedding. In the center of the composition is a middle-aged woman. She is dressed in a boyar outfit of pre-Petrine time, richly decorated with embroidery and beads. According to custom, before the wedding, she combs the beautiful long hair of a young girl sitting in an armchair in a white robe.

Tradition ordered unmarried girls to braid their hair in one braid with a bow at the end or a “braid” at the beginning of the braid. The bride was already walking to the crown with the hairstyle of a married woman: the hair was braided in two braids at the temples and laid in a circle or around the head, and a warrior was dressed on top of them. This very scene was portrayed by Konstantin Yegorovich Makovsky in all its drama and festivity.

The bridesmaids, sisters and cousins, a little boy gathered around. The casket with the stones is open, and pearl beads slipped out of it and scattered on the dressing table. With free virtuoso strokes, Makovsky writes all this Byzantine luxury and bright young faces, freely orienting himself in the patterns of carpet, lace, embroidery, embroidered beaded kokoshniks and ponevah.

The artist had a festive, upbeat vision, possibly under the influence of K.P. Bryullov with his brilliant academicism. In detail, but very freely and picturesquely, painted out clothes, richly decorated with embroidery and pearls, household items and furnishings in the rays of sunlight create a joyful festive mood in a multi-figured composition with complex angles.

The works of Konstantin Yegorovich always unfold in front of the viewer, like a magnificent theatrical performance, like a grandiose performance. So in this picture, the artist gives us a feel for all the piercing mood of the moment, all the circumstances, all the beauties of boyar life, all the tragedy and all the festivity of the event.

Year of painting: 1890.

Dimensions of the painting: 136 x 183 cm.

Material: canvas.

Writing technique: oil.

Genre: genre painting.

Style: romanticism.

Gallery: Serpukhov Art and History Museum, Serpukhov, Russia.

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