Petersburg courtyard - Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky. 64.5 x 53
Moskvich Konstantin Makovsky was in St. Petersburg led by a vocation - he came to study at the Academy of Arts after graduating from the Moscow School of Painting. In 1857, the aspiring artist, who was already awarded a silver medal for an etude from nature, went to the capital.
During the years of training, Makovsky practiced a lot in constructing compositions, honing his technique, resorting mainly to genre scenes. The work “St. Petersburg Courtyard” refers to the period of the artist’s formation, however, it already demonstrates the talent of the young author.
The painting depicts a classic small courtyard in St. Petersburg - low houses with small windows that surround on all sides, forming a well. In the middle of a snowy courtyard is a group of people. In the center is a young hawker who walks the streets and sells his simple goods. On the sides of the boy are two bearded men, with one facing the viewer, while the second is facing us in profile. Men's clothing is significantly different: the hero on the right has a warm coat and felt boots, but the second can only boast of boots and a thin army.
The fact that the street is very coldly shown to us by the young heroine of the plot is on her right. The girl cringed, squeezed her hands, even her legs were crossed.
As for the writing technique, an attentive viewer will notice heterogeneity in Makovsky. All the heroes were written out with special care, while the snow that covered the yard is depicted by sweeping strokes, in some places even somewhat messy - in particular, the space between the girl and the peasant in Armenian. However, it is precisely these sweeping movements that create a sparkling play of snow in the cold, inhospitable sun.
Another fragment of the picture is noteworthy - it is snow on the roof of the yellow house. Pink reflections of the sun, evenly lying on the snow cap of the house, tell the viewer that the action takes place in the early morning.
In the picture, one can notice a certain static character of the heroes and a simplified compositional construction - later works by Makovsky will be distinguished by more daring solutions, multi-figured compositions and filigree technique. But now, on this canvas, the huge potential of a student of the Art Academy is visible, which is distinguished by attentiveness, careful selection of the palette and the desire to find beauty in everyday subjects.
A little time will pass, and the hardworking youth will become “my artist” for the emperor, “brilliant Bones” for friends and another exceptional page in the history of Russian painting.