It took the artist six years to complete this monumental patriotic work. This canvas is considered the largest in Russia, it depicts more than a hundred different characters.
After Ilya Repin wrote the painting “The Cossacks are Writing a Letter to the Turkish Sultan”, which was received with great enthusiasm by the audience, Makovsky decided to write a canvas on a patriotic theme, which has a great and grateful response in the hearts of the Russian people.
The artist approached the historical accuracy of such a large-scale work with a great deal of responsibility. He went to Nizhny Novgorod, where he spent a lot of time studying the archives. From there he learned that the action he wanted to capture on canvas took place on a market day, not far from the church of St. Nicholas. It was there that Kozma Minin addressed the people of Nizhny Novgorod with his appeal.
To paint the faces of many characters, Konstantin Makovsky made sketches of people right from the street from the window of his hotel room on Rozhdestvenskaya Street, studying the behavior and habits of representatives of different classes. The artist managed to convey the character and even the mood of each person depicted on the canvas very reliably.
In Nizhny Novgorod, Makovsky makes acquaintance with Andrei Osipovich Karelin, a famous Nizhny Novgorod photographer, artist and collector of antiquities who helps the artist in restoring the appearance of various people of that time, the chests and caskets in the picture are drawn from real objects.
The artist depicted an early autumn morning, the zemstvo head Kozma Minin from an impromptu rostrum calls on the bazaar people who gathered for the auction to help in the struggle for the liberation of the Moscow state from foreign invaders. Completely different people carry their savings and belongings and put them near Minin.
Naturally, after writing, Nizhny Novgorod saw the first picture in 1896. A huge, more than 6 square meters, patriotic canvas made a real sensation, caused a lot of controversy and gossip that do not subside to this day.
Year of painting: 1896.
Dimensions of the painting: 273 x 233 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Genre: historical painting.
Gallery: State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.