He produced historical and social scenes, as well as being a portrait painter of some renown, although his significance lies more in the role he played as a founder-member of the WANDERERS art society in late 19th-century Russia. He studied first at the Moscow School of Painting and Sculpture (1851-8), which had been co-founded by his father Yegor Ivanovich Makovsky (1800-86), under Mikhail Ivanovich Skotti (1814-61) and Sergey Konstantinovich Zaryanko, then from 1858 to 1863 at the Petersburg Academy of Arts. In 1862 he was awarded a Minor Gold Medal, but the following year, together with 13 other students, Makovsky rebelled against the theme set for the Grand Gold Medal competition and left the Academy with the title of Artist of the Second Degree. In 1863 he joined the Petersburg Artel of artists, the forerunner of the Wanderers and the most potent symbol of the break with classical tradition. The reversal of official policy that this engendered led to his being made an academician in 1867, in 1869 a professor and in 1898 a full member of the Academy. As a member of the Wanderers, Makovsky was most notable for his new subject-matter, namely the common people. However, he split with the society in 1883 and by 1891 had become a member of the newly formed and more Salon-orientated St Petersburg Society of Artists, of which he was subsequently to be president. Makovsky often veered towards sentimentalism, giving his works a cloying pathos, as in his portrait of the Stasov Children (early 1870s) and Children Fleeing the Storm (1872),
ID: 19258 Portrait of Julia Makovskaya, The Artist's Wife 1881
Oil on canvas
The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg.