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1839, Moscow — 1915, Petrograd

Kissing Ritual

1895


This large, multi-figured canvas belongs to Kon¬stantin Makovsky s Boyar cycle of works, in which he resurrected the Rus of the 17th-century boyars, mainly turning his attention to the ritual side of life at the time. The subject of the canvas was inspired by Alexei Tolstoy s novel Prince Serebryany. The artist was attracted to the scene of the jealousy of the old boyar, who is vigilantly following the hospitality ritual of the young guest, watching to see if his young, beautiful wife will somehow reveal to whom she not long ago said by the fence at night, I love you more than life, more than the red sun. The subject served as a way for the artist to demonstrate his virtuosity in conveying the textures and colours of the objects of wealth and the beauty of old Russian everyday life. The canvas was first exhibited at the All-Russian Exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod in 1896, and then in 1897 in St Petersburg at the artist s personal exhibition, after which it became a part of the Russian Museum s collection.


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