Russian painting

Mermaids, Makovsky - description of the painting

  • Author: Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky
  • Museum: The Russian Museum
  • Year: 1879
  • Click image for larger version

Description of the picture:

Mermaids - Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky. 1879. Oil on canvas. 261.5x347 cm

Russian art has always turned to its history. Ancient pagan rituals, legends, and beliefs enjoyed no less interest among painters. In them, the authors saw a storehouse of new plots, as well as the opportunity to experiment with technique and composition.
One of the most enticing folklore characters is the girl-mermaids, who live in river waters, and sometimes go to the beach on a moonlit night. These are drowned girls, suicides, and some thought that they were ugly with a large body and matted hair, while others kept saying about the insidious beauty of the river nymphs, which can be very dangerous, especially for men. The mermaids were dedicated to their paintings by I. Repin, I. Kramskoy, and Konstantin Makovsky did not stand aside, offering a completely different interpretation of his heroines.
If on the canvas of Kramskoy, the mermaids appear to the viewer as unhappy spirits in long white shrouds personifying their sad fate, then in Makovsky they are wonderful witches who whirl in fancy dance. Each figure is fancifully bent and presented in an unusual perspective, and on the matte skin flashes of the moon glisten. The whole picture "breathes" with mysticism and some mystery - the viewer, as it were, unwittingly witnessed this mysterious dance rite.
The composition of the picture gives rise to all this irrepressible dynamics. Sensual whirlwind of beautiful nude bodies soars from the water to the lunar disk.
This spectacular plasticity of river maidens did not find a response from critics - V. Garshin and V. Stasov spoke too negatively about the Mermaids. However, discussions of this work were so vigorous that the emperor Alexander himself decided to visit the exhibition, although he had been more than calm about genre painting before. I liked the picture of the emperor.
Today we can be completely in solidarity with Alexander - a finely chosen palette, an unusual composition, carefully written images and fantastic scenery can not leave anyone indifferent.

Other paintings by Konstantin Makovsky

Portrait of Maria Nikolaevna
Family portrait
At the open window
Boyarsky wedding feast
Children running from the storm
Petersburg Yard

Watch the video: Konstantin Yegorovich Makovsky 1839-1915 Russian painter Terem Quartet - Willow (April 2020).