22 Works, June 20th. is Konstantin Makovsky’s day, his story, illustrated with footnotes #167

Konstantin Makovsky (1839–1915)
Kissing custom, c. 1895

Oil on canvas
State Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg

At the time of Ivan the Terrible, women used to be kept indoors, sheltered from interactions with strangers. The only exceptions allowed were with friends and highly regarded guests during a kissing ceremony. This rite usually meant that the host’s spouse would sip wine from a goblet, bow, and then pass it to the guest. On special occasions the latter was invited to kiss the wife on the lips, which was considered to be a great honor.

In the painting, Morozov, the old man to the right with a long, white beard, is waiting to see the reaction of Elena when Romanchov kisses her. Romanchov is the man wearing a green tunic and leaning forward, while Elena is the pale, tall woman holding a large, golden goblet. As Morozov is frowning and tensely gripping the arm of his chair, his right hand rests dangerously close to a dagger. Next to him, a jester whispers devilishly into his ear, emboldening the boyar’s worst suspicions. More on this painting

Konstantin Yegorovich Makovsky (June 20, 1839 — September 17, 1915) was an influential Russian painter, affiliated with the “Peredvizhniki”, a realist artists who formed an artists’ cooperative in protest of academic restrictions. Many of his historical paintings, such as Beneath the Crown (1889) also known as The Russian Bride’s Attire (See below) and Before the Wedding, showed an idealized view of Russian life of prior centuries. He is often considered a representative of Academic art…

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Author: Zaidan Art Blog

I search Art History for Beautiful works that may, or may not, have a secondary or unexpected story to tell. I then write short summaries that grow from my research. Art work is so much more when its secrets are exposed

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