Vladimir Egorovich Makovskii

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Makovskii, Vladimir Egorovich


Born Jan. 26 (Feb. 7), 1846, in Moscow; died Feb. 21, 1920, in Petrograd. Russian painter. Academician (1873); member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts (1893). Son of art figure E. I. Makovskii.

From 1861 to 1866, Makovskii studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture under S. K. Zarianko. He taught at the school from 1882 to 1894 and at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts from 1894 to 1918, becoming rector in 1895. Makovskii’s pupils included A. E. Arkhipov, V. N. Baksheev, and E. M. Cheptsov. In 1872 the artist became a member of the peredvizhniki (the “wanderers”—a progressive art movement).

Makovskii’s early works (Game of Knucklebones, 1870; In the Doctor’s Waiting Room, 1870; Nightingale Lovers, 1872-73—all in the Tret’iakov Gallery) reveal the artist’s powers of observation, sense of humor, and ability to portray everyday life truthfully and unpretentiously. His principal theme—life in the city —developed in the mid-1870’s. In his more intimate compositions, often depicting only two figures, Makovskii portrayed, at times a bit superficially, the life of various strata of Russian society and told of the hard lot, troubles, and joys of the urban lower classes (Visiting the Poor, 1874; Friends and Buddies, 1878 —both in the Tret’iakov Gallery). In the 1870’s, the artist’s work took the form of critical social commentary (Waiting, 1875, Tret’iakov Gallery; The Condemned, 1879, Russian Museum, Leningrad).

Makovskii reached his artistic maturity in the 1880’s and 1890’s. The dramatic scene Bank Failure (1881) convincingly conveys the despair of people who have been deceived. The work Meeting (1883) portrays the tenderness of maternal love, and On the Boulevard (1886-87) depicts the sad side of the life of a big city. (These three works are in the Tret’iakov Gallery.) A number of Makovskii’s works from the 1880’s and 1890’s were close to plein-air painting (Declaration of Love, 1889-91, Tret’iakov Gallery). The artist expressed his democratic views in the Volga series (1896), which was devoted to the working people.

In a number of works from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Makovskii responded to important political events (January 9, 1905 on Vasi’evskii Island, Museum of the Great October Socialist Revolution, Leningrad) and created images of the revolutionary intelligensia (The Party, 1875-97, Tret’iakov Gallery; Interrogation of a Woman Revolutionist, 1904, Museum of the Revolution of the USSR, Moscow). Makovskii also painted portraits and was a graphic artist.


Druzhenkova, G. A. V. Makovskii. Moscow, 1962.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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