Konstantin Makovsky. The painting Boyaryn at the Window, 1885

The painting “Boyaryn at the Window” by Konstantin Makovsky

Konstantin Makovsky. The painting Boyaryn at the Window, 1885
Konstantin Makovsky. The painting Boyaryn at the Window, 1885


The Boyar Girl at the Window is a painting by Konstantin Yegorovich Makovsky, painted during a period of heightened public interest in Russian history. The canvas depicts a beautiful young lady, well-groomed, full-blooded, in brocade clothing.

The painting “Boyaryn at the Window” by Konstantin Makovsky: a historical portrait and a reflection of the majestic beauty of a Russian woman

A large number of pearls – a very expensive jewelry in Russia – speaks of the heroine’s high position. Paintings on the walls, inlaid glasses in an elegant frame, a silk curtain, fur trim of outerwear, gold embroidery of the outfit emphasize material wealth. The delicate skin of a woman seems to glow from the inside.

The gaze of dark eyes is thoughtfully directed at the viewer. She is confident in her beauty. The slight smile on the full coral lips is barely indicated by the painter. Before us is the face of the queen with a calm and restrained expression. The main colors of the painting are muted brown, bluish, red and golden yellow. There are no harsh shadows, all transitions are smooth, through midtones, so the image looks natural. Darkening the background in the right third and to the left of the knees creates the illusion of diffused light that enters through the window, clearly highlighting the figure of the boyaryn.

Title of the painting: “The Boyaryn at the Window”.
Author: Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky (1839-1915).
Year of writing: 1885.
Size: 174 x 117 cm.
Style: Realism.
Genre: Portrait, historical scene.
Technique: Oil painting.
Material: Canvas.
Location: Omsk Regional Museum of Fine Arts. M.A. Vrubel.

Konstantin Makovsky was a popular artist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

He was highly regarded not only by critics and spectators. Alexander II liked realistic works on historical subjects and portraits of famous people. Therefore, the emperor personally patronized the master. Having joined the Itinerant Society early, Makovsky became famous in Russia and abroad as a keen collector and connoisseur of his native history.

The image of women in Russian outfits is characteristic of his work. He carefully studied antiquity, seeking the authenticity of every line and detail. According to some researchers, the painting The Boyaryn at the Window is a portrait of the first wife of Tsar Ivan the Terrible, Anastasia, who died at a young age.

According to rumors, confirmed by modern research, she was slowly poisoned with arsenic and mercury. The author, who scrupulously studied the historical materials, was aware of the unofficial version of the tragic event. The artist dyed the heroine’s underwear red, which, according to the Orthodox tradition, can symbolize both a royal position and a martyr’s death. The painting “The Boyar Girl at the Window” by Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky is an example of an amazing love for the image of a Russian woman. In it one can feel the knowledge of ancient rituals and everyday life, the artist’s sincere respect for the history of pre-Petrine Russia.