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Portrait of Maria Alexeevna Matavtina by  Konstantin Makovsky
Portrait of Maria Alexeevna Matavtina by Konstantin Makovsky

Portrait of Maria Alexeevna Matavtina

Portrait of Makovsky’s Third Wife Maria Alexeevna Matavtina (1869-1919) c1900 by Konstantin Makovsky (1839 – 1915); specializing in Russian Historical paintings showing an idealized view of Russian life in past centuries.

This is a portrait done by Makovsky of his third wife at the age of 31, during the Art Nouveau Period style of art as can be seen from the orange-red background wall with its flowing form reliefs plants, birds of which there are parrots and a peacock, architectural accents and even a seashell.

She is wearing a black hat, with white speckles along the edge with violet and green flowers on top, as well as violet flowers in her brown hair with a grayish blue ribbon that is propping up the hat from the left side of her head.

She is adorned in plenty of jewelry, starting with two large pearl drop earrings, a wide band light blue choker that is wrapped by layers of a beaded choker necklace with a gold clasps at the front, a long double wrap pearl necklace and another necklace with an ornament attached to it.

She also has several gemstone rings which include a ruby on the four fingers of her right hand, a gold wedding ring on her left and a chained gold and gemstone bracelet on her left wrist which hangs down past her hand and on to the black parasol she is holding in her left hand.

Her dress is sleeveless and low cut at the chest with a gold colored satin accent that starts at the chest edge and goes off to her left and the side to her waist, creating a flare effect.

The main portion of the dress comes in two parts with a base white layer on which a sheer embroidered black layer fits on top with white speckles; with pink, white, green, and orange flowers accenting the left side of the dress from the shoulder strap down to her thigh; and on the right from the calf area almost to the floor.

Portrait of Maria Alexeevna Matavtina is a remastered digital art old masters reproduction of a public domain image that is available as a canvas print online.

Info Below Derived From

Konstantin Makovsky was an influential Russian painter, affiliated with the “Peredvizhniki (Wanderers)”. Many of his historical paintings, such as Beneath the Crown (1889) also known as The Russian Bride’s Attire and Before the Wedding, showed an idealized view of Russian life of prior centuries. He is often considered a representative of Academic art.

Konstantin Makovsky was born in Moscow. His father was the Russian art figure and amateur painter, Yegor Ivanovich Makovsky. His mother was a composer, and she hoped her son would one day follow in her footsteps. His younger brothers Vladimir and Nikolay and his sister Alexandra also went on to become painters.

In 1851 Makovsky entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture where he became the top student, easily getting all the available awards. His teachers were Karl Bryullov and Vasily Tropinin. Makovsky’s inclinations to Romanticism and decorative effects can be explained by the influence of Bryullov.

Although art was his passion, he also considered what his mother had wanted him to do. He set off to look for composers he could refer to, and first went to France. Before, he had always been a classical music lover, and listened to many pieces. He often wished he could change the tune, or style of some of them to make them more enjoyable. Later in his life it came true.

In 1858 Makovsky entered the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg. From 1860 he participated in the Academy’s exhibitions with paintings such as Curing of the Blind (1860) and Agents of the False Dmitry kill the son of Boris Godunov (1862). In 1863 Makovsky and thirteen other students held a protest against the Academy’s setting of topics from Scandinavian mythology in the competition for the Large Gold Medal of Academia; all left the academy without a formal diploma.

Makovsky became a member of a co-operative (artel) of artists led by Ivan Kramskoi, typically producing Wanderers paintings on everyday life (Widow 1865, Herring-seller 1867, etc.). From 1870 he was a founding member of the Society for Traveling Art Exhibitions and continued to work on paintings devoted to everyday life. He exhibited his works at both the Academia exhibitions and the Traveling Art Exhibitions of the Wanderers.

A significant change in his style occurred after traveling to Egypt and Serbia in the mid-1870s. His interests changed from social and psychological problems to the artistic problems of colors and shape.

In the 1880s he became a fashionable author of portraits and historical paintings. At the World’s Fair of 1889 in Paris he received the Large Gold Medal for his paintings Death of Ivan the Terrible, The Judgement of Paris, and Demon and Tamara. He was one of the most highly appreciated and highly paid Russian artists of the time. Many democratic critics considered him as a renegade of the Wanderers’ ideals, producing (like Henryk Siemiradzki) striking but shallow works, while others see him as a forerunner of Russian Impressionism.

Makovsky was killed in 1915 when his horse-drawn carriage was hit by an electric tram in Saint Petersburg.


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