Unmatched satirical genre painting

When Vladimir Makovsky was alive, although he belonged to the movement of the “Wanderers” who were involved with social issues, he was in the shadow of his brother – the artist Konstantin Makovsky. Time has passed. Urban scenes by Konstantin Makovsky today are as relevant as they were more than a hundred years ago – at the time of their creation. Nothing has changed in this world?

“Painting is not a word; it gives you one minute,

and in this minute should be everything, and if not – there is no painting. “

Vladimir Makovsky

Fans of nightingales

Vladimir Solovyov created an absurd and satirical painting.

Landlord and his serviceman (sitting with his back straight) are by a samovar, and besides tea they also indulge in some vodka. “The broad Russian soul” of the landlord wanted to have some fun. So they called a servant (standing) and forced him to sing like … a nightingale. The landlord is conducting, showing that he should sing with a higher pitch.

Fans of nightingales (1872-73) by Russian artist Vladimir Makovsky

Fans of nightingales (1872-73)

Waiting. By the prison

It doesn’t seem like anyone from those waiting by the jail was condemning the arrested.

It seems that the arrest was massive and recent, perhaps – political. So fresh are the emotions of those waiting.

All those who wait are anxious, but each within their small groups. For some it is a tragedy of a loved one, but for others it is undisguised grief: it is possible that behind the prison walls is their breadwinner, and the family is facing hunger.

Waiting. By the prison (1875) by Russian artist Vladimir Makovsky

Waiting. By the prison (1875)

Receiving pensions

Vladimir Makovsky created another comical-satirical painting “Receiving pensions” simultaneously with his other social projects. And this was his nature: he was not ready to give up depicting urban life and the lives of common people for the sake of epic canvases.

The painting mostly depicts elderly people. They are enthusiastically talking to each other. As if that is not a state-owned building, but a social club. This excitement is emphasized by the face of a bored girl and a focused face of a young man.

And … nothing has changed. Today pensioners in Russia also create these improvised social clubs when receiving their pensions.

Receiving pensions (1876) by Russian artist Vladimir Makovsky

Receiving pensions (1876)

The Collapse of a bank

Konstantin Makovsky created another psychological satire.

The closure of a bank was announced.

First about the victims. On the left an old woman fainted. In the center – thinking retired military man who does not know what to do. As if stunned by the news man, standing with his back to the viewer. A rich lady who wants to say everything that she is thinking. But she has no one to say it to.

On the right – a specially invited gendarme to make sure “nothing happens,” one police officer and two employees. They all have different emotions, but in reality they are empty, they are not there – because they simply cannot help, and just “carry out their duties” as mindless cogs in the machine run by someone else.

Although, in fact, it is clear who is running the ship. Here he is, in the center of the composition, shifted to the right – the banker. He alone outweighs all other characters. He already turned away from the victims, but his expression is not sad at all and he doesn’t seem ashamed. Rather, he looks malignantly joyful. And behind him are his victims.

The collapse of a bank (1881) by Russian artist Vladimir Makovsky

The collapse of a bank (1881)


Another sharply social work by Vladimir Makovsky.

Mother came to visit her son. And she brought him delicious white bread. Little boy was sent to work as an apprentice. He is barely dressed. And they work him to death. He’s always hungry. And he immediately sank his teeth into a tasty loaf of bread. And the mother touches her lips and watches him eat and cannot stop looking.

Date (1883) by Russian artist Vladimir Makovsky

Date (1883)

At the Boulevard

The most powerful, full of psychologism painting of Vladimir Makovsky.

A shop on the street. The artisan went for a walk with his wife. His head is famously thrown back, and in his hands he is holding an accordion. That’s maybe how he captured the heart of his wife. And he wants to have fun, to party, but everything has changed – because now he has a family. And the artisan is not cheerful.

And next to him is his wife with an infant. Why is she here? Her head is lowered already – there is no love, no agreement in the marriage. Ahead are just endless chores and dictates of her husband.

At the Boulevard (1886-87) by Russian artist Vladimir Makovsky

At the Boulevard (1886-87)

To break the monotonous impression, we will add only one portrait to this collection of works by Vladimir Makovsky (Vladimir Makovsky created many genre portraits).

A deacon

A deacon, as though you just saw him on the streets with a cup asking for alms. In his eyes and on his face – insight and the ability to know who will give him money and, most importantly, how much. And judging by the red color of the deacon’s face some alms are then left in some tavern, or maybe it’s just a tan from being outside so much.

A deacon (1871) by Russian artist Vladimir Makovsky

A deacon (1871)

Do you ever see anything from the images created by Vladimir Makovsky in your life?

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