The painting “Children fleeing a thunderstorm”, Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky – description

The painting “Children fleeing a thunderstorm”, Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky – description
The painting "Children fleeing a thunderstorm", Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky - description - 1

  • Posted by Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1872

Overview of the painting :

Children fleeing a thunderstorm – Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky. 1872. Oil on canvas 167 x 102

   One of the most famous works of Konstantin Makovsky, “Children Running from Thunderstorms”, was written in 1872. This period of the painter’s work, which was diverse, is called by critics “advizhnoeous”. The artist actively participated in traveling exhibitions, supporting the ideas of I. Kramsky, V. Perova, N. Meat-eater, N. Ge and other masters who challenged dry academy.

   The presented work is incredibly emotional and vibrant. The main characters, children, are brought to the fore by the artist – the viewer is so close to the guys that he can see in detail the emotions on their young faces, and it seems that we ourselves are ready to run across the field, trying to overtake an implacably impending thunderstorm.

   The sky darkened, and heavy thunderclouds bent to the ground. Everything speaks of a rainy element that is about to begin. However, this bad weather seems to children a disaster, and the expression of the girl’s face is particularly exciting. You involuntarily start to think: what scared the heroes so much? A thunderstorm does not bring such horror to village children, or a barefoot girl cares about something else, for example, she is afraid that her little brother will get wet and she will be hacked at home? Indeed, a difficult village life introduced a simple rule – caring for the younger children rests entirely on the shoulders of the elders, so the heroine’s anxiety is not unfounded.

   The scenery that “built” around the actors of Makovsky echo their mood. Even a shaky bridge makes some kind of uncertainty – it seems that upset children should step on it and it will simply fall apart. The boy looks very touching. His hair flutters the wind, his bare legs hang out, and the pens gripped the elder’s neck tightly.

   Where did these colorful children come from? History, fortunately, has retained some information for us. Like many mobile phones, Makovsky traveled around Russian provinces to make sketches and find new stories. Working in one of the places of the Tverskoye province, the painter met a peasant girl, a boy and a bold one. Once again, when the master went out with a molbert to the open air, he was surrounded by a bunch of peasant guys.

   It was the girl from the picture who began to question shamelessly what Makovsky was doing. After giving the explanation to the girl, the artist suggested drawing it. A posing session was scheduled for the next day, however, a young model did not appear for tomorrow. But her younger brother came running, who explained to Konstantin Egorovich that the little sister fell ill – in the evening they went to the forest for mushrooms, and returning, they were caught with a thunderstorm. Running through the bridge, her sister slipped and got bogged down in the stream, and got sick there while she got out.

   The artist decided to reproduce the whole story on the canvas. Later, when the picture was exhibited and gained fame, Makovsky recalled the big-eyed peasant girl, and said – if only she knew what this campaign for mushrooms resulted in.

   And it resulted in a wonderful job, lively and touching. The artist masterfully depicted not only the guys, but also the background. The sky is written with maximum realism – here are gray clouds, and blue gaps, and solar glare breaking through the darkness that illuminate the strip of the field. Grasses almost do not sway, while the hair of children speaks of a gusty wind. Makovsky had amazing observation to notice such detailed pre-threatening nuances, and filigree technique to delightfully convey this on the canvas.

   A distinctive feature of the Makovsky of this period is not the conviction, but the search for aesthetics. For the most part, the peasants on his canvases are beautiful, and the children are neat with a chubby blush. Painter paintings evoke mixed feelings of tenderness, sentimentality and sadness.