Vladimir Egorovich Makovsky (1846-1920) was born in Moscow, in the family of the famous art figure EI I. Makovsky, who was one of the founders of the famous School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, the “smithy” of Russian talents. In this educational institution, Vladimir Makovsky, and his brother Constantine, also became an artist.
The atmosphere of creativity surrounded them almost from birth – in the parents’ house there were often famous artists. Vladimir Makovsky was interested in drawing early. This hobby turned out to be serious. The first teacher of young talent was the artist VA Tropinin.
After graduating from the School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, Makovsky studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. Later, becoming a recognized master, Makovsky taught in these schools.
Already in the first works, attention was paid to participation in the “little man”, his sorrows and joys. This motif passes through all the artist’s work. The best of his paintings are simple everyday scenes.
Among such paintings is the “Girl with the Goose in the Field”. Makovsky created a whole series of paintings dedicated to peasant children. The artist sought to show the beauty hidden in the ordinary, everyday life of the common people. Makovsky knew how to distinguish, “grab” a special moment in the artist’s eyes in unpretentious, seemingly, situations. This moment became the plot of the picture. As the artist himself said, “The picture is not a word, it gives one minute, and in this minute there should be everything, but no – there is no picture.”
The plot of the picture “The Girl with the Geese” is extremely simple. A girl of about ten or twelve can walk through the meadow, looking after the geese, which are important not far from her. It would seem nothing special – how many such girls grazed geese in Russian villages. However, this is the skill of the artist, that he saw and managed to show to the others and expressive the individuality of the young shepherdess, and the beauty of the unpretentious landscape typical of the Central Russian strip, and the peculiar majesty of birds, though far from the poetic grace of swans.
Undoubtedly, the artist saw such scenes, the image of the girl probably had a real prototype. But the picture “Girl with the geese” – not just a sketch from
life. The artist has invested in the picture and his attitude towards the heroine, sympathy for her, emphasized her charm and natural, easy grace. Makovsky carefully wrote out the pretty face of the girl: a calm, slightly sly look, a snub nose, gracefully outlined lips. A few years will pass – and it will attract the eyes and hearts of young men, not only beauty, but also cheerful, quick temper…
The composition of the picture is simple, like the plot. The figure of the girl is placed almost in the center of the canvas, next to her in the foreground, slightly bent to the ground, stretches the neck of a large white-gray goose. Two other goose go one after another from the depths of the picture towards the cowherd boy. The background is a green meadow and a clear blue sky, which divide the picture almost into equal parts horizontally. On the right, the meadow is slightly hilly, on a small hill there are several rare shrubs growing. In the distance on the left is a strip of forest.
The background colors are pale blue and green. The light colors in which the sky is made create the impression of transparency. Among the green meadows are scattered white flowers, in the foreground carefully isolated individual grass.
On the general background, a bright spot is the girl’s outfit. She wears a red sarafan, put on a red shirt of a brighter color. The sleeves of the shirt come to the elbows. With her right hand the girl holds a large navy blue apron, in which lies an armful of wildflowers. The dark hair of the cowherd boy is adorned with a wreath of these flowers. With her left hand, the girl holds a long branch with leaves lying on her shoulder. The branch is needed to guide the geese; but now this is not necessary, birds do not move away from the cowherd boy, so she does not start a branch. Obviously, the young shepherdess, like most women, loves to dress up, loves jewelry: she has a double row of beads on her neck, earrings in her ears. Hardly, of course, these are expensive things, but on it they look elegant and elegant. The girl goes barefoot – in summer, most of the peasant children used to go there.
The artist not only attached importance to the figure of the girl and the geese, he managed to put into the picture the feeling of a serene summer day, peace and quiet, which often people so lack. That is why, probably, this picture attracts so much, I want to look at it again and again…