Sphinx Fine Art
Makovsky was the son of collector, Yegor Ivanovich Makovsky, who was one of the founders of the Moscow Art School. Vladimir had two brothers, Nikolai Makovsky and Konstantin Makovsky, and one sister, Alexandra Makovsky. All were famous painters themselves. Vladimir sutided at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture. He finished his studies in 1869 and from 1872 became one of the founding members of the Association of Travelling Art Exhibitions, the Wanderers, or Peredvizhniki, where his many years of prolific work brought him to a leading position.
Makovsky's work was defined by a perpetual humor as well as blatant irony and scorn. During the seventies his paintings dealt primarily with small-town folk. His pictures, The Grape-juice Seller (1879), Fruit-Preserving (1876) and The Congratulator (1878) depict various scenes where the mood is finely conceived and almost laughter-inducing. Other works of his, such as The Benefactor (1874) and The Convict (1878) are profoundly socially-conscious. In them, Makovsky either criticizes the false sympathy of the aristocracy towards the poor, or draws attention to the oppression and persecution of the tsarist gendaremrie. In 1878, he became an academician.
In the eighties, during the time of Russian "democratic" painting, Makovsky produced some of his most revered works. In 1882, he was made professor at the Moscow Art School after the death of Vasili Perov. Some of Makovsky's greatest works of this period includeIn the Ante-rooom of the Court of Conciliatior (1880), The Released Prisoner (1882), and The Collapse of the Bank (1881). From the end of the eighties, Makovsky began to produce more gloomy works. Quintessential works of this period include You Shall Not Go (1892), and On the Boulevard (1888).
In 1894, Makovsky became Rector of the Preparatoy school of the Academy of Art. After the First Russian Revolution, he painted January 9th, 1905, on the Vasilyev Island in which he depicts the armed police firing at defenseless people. In another painting The Sacrifices on the Khodyn Field in which a thousand people lost their lives during the coronation ceremony of Nicholas II, he again stood uncompromisingly on the side of the oppressed people. After the October Revolution, Makovsky helped carry over the realist traditions to the early stages of Socialist Realism.
Makovsky also made a considerable contribution to the developing iconography of the Russian revolutionary movement. Combining truth to appearances with psychological insight, he painted the exalted members of a group of liberal intelligentsia in the picture of the Evening Party, (1875–97; Moscow, Tretyakov Gallery), a canvas on the subject of the Interrogation of the Female Revolutionary, (1904; Moscow, Central Museum Revolution).
Makovskii is represented in the following collections: Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; National Gallery of Armenia, Yerevan; Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, amongst others.