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Matchmaking major

Painting, 1848, 58.3×75.4 cm

Description of the artwork «Matchmaking major»

"Matchmaking Major" Pavel Fedotov - the picture is as famous as it is little understood by the modern viewer. Fedotov, as we know, was the ancestor of Russian genre painting. Namely, the genre, in contrast to the "timeless" landscape, still life or portrait, is most strongly tied to modernity and its everyday realities. Times change, and everything that seemed to contemporaries of the artist becomes self-evident for the viewer at best exotic, at worst - problematic.

To understand what is happening in the picture of Fedotov means to understand who of eight (not counting cats) characters, what he is currently doing and what are his motives.

Fedotov leads us into a merchant's house. Not aristocratic (the world of aristocrats who grew up in the Zamoskvorechye artist from inside could not know), namely, the merchant. The house is undoubtedly rich - one chandelier is worth something. And the pictures! And the paintings on the ceiling! And iridescent fabrics on dresses! By this promising dowry and is going to woo, as the name of the picture informs us, a certain major. By the way, he is in the adjacent room. Not yet entered the hall. Perhaps, it is experiencing that everything should be alleviated - it tightens its hussar mustaches. And the uniform put on his epaulettes, but he could have simply, in a civil manner, a frock coat.

Why is the major so interested, if he most likely sees the bride for the first time in a minute, and then it’s not a matter of love languor?

It is not difficult to assume a typical plot for its time: it’s time to retire, health is naughty, the estate is squandered, why live? And then the opportunity is the richest patriarchal family and daughter to the marriage, in fact, according to Fedotov's picturesque truthfulness, in color.

The family, of course, is also not against it. He from the alleged marriage - its benefits and reasons. The nobleman, and even the servant, is also the protection of the merchant from the arbitrariness and arbitrariness of the officials and, most importantly, his last name, prestige. But in order for everything to cope, of course, a mediator is needed - without this, there is no way. Matchmaker! It is easy to recognize her on the canvas by the fact that she, like any other pick, hangs in a helpful pose on the border of two worlds - the hallway and the halls. Or, if we take the social aspect, the world of merchants and the world of the nobility.

What else do we see in the picture? What assumptions are logical to make from lovingly written out details by Fedotov? In the background, in the left corner, someone is whispering - either hangers, or servants. Apparently, the news of matchmaking just came to their ears. The cook puts a pie on the table - a patriarchal Russian treat. But champagne and glasses still stand on the chair - it is clear that everyone is in a hurry, everyone is looking forward and fussing.

Most of all, as expected, worried bride. She is thoroughly dressed and possibly even scented. But he no longer has the strength to endure, and at the last moment breaks loose from the front rooms. Her father with a full beard listens to the jokes of the matchmaker, but the mother shows the will and skill: there is enough of a nearly runaway bride for figma. In the expression of her face eloquently read "Stand, fool!" One can immediately see who is holding the house here. Despite the declared patriarchy.

A wedding conspiracy is about to take place (or not). There will be (or will not arise) a new family. Two dynasties will continue (or will not continue) - military and merchant. We see in the picture of Fedotov the highest point of this tense uncertainty and how each of the actors (actors) is experiencing it. In a word, the genre scene “Major Matchmaking” is nothing more than “Wedding Planner” or “Runaway Bride” in Russian. "Features of the national marriage" in the middle of the XIX century. Eternal marriage archetypes, adjusted for the old-Moscow color.

Fedotov repeated the picture "Major Matchmaking" in 1851 - this option kept in the Russian Museum.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Genre scene

Style of art: Realism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1848

Size: 58.3×75.4 cm

Artwork in selections: 54 selections