Sultry summer day. All people are tormented by heat. Where to hide? Where to go? Of course, most people prefer to go to ponds: swim, sunbathe, fish.
One of these moments impressed on his canvas “On a Hot Day” an unrivaled master of everyday painting of the late XIX – early XX century, the successor of the traditions of VA Tropinin, AG Venetsianov, VG Perov and PA Fedotov – V. E. Makovsky. The painter was famous for having a talent for penetrating into the inner world of each person he portrayed, he was able to notice the subtlest movements of the soul, felt the shades of relations between people, caught their individual reactions to what is happening in life.
The ability of VE Makovsky to express all this with the help of artistic means is considered to be one of the strongest critics in the art of the painter. In the sun-drenched picture “On a hot day”, written by the artist in 1881, we are presented with a family of five people who
on a hot summer day went to the nature to the lake to fish and rest. The closest thing to the viewer is a boy of about ten or eleven. He is dressed in a light gymnastic suit of beige color – long pants and a shirt with dark buttons, which is girded with a dark wide strap. On the feet of the boy brown boots. The head is covered with a cap in the color of a suit. Probably, she was carefully dressed by the boy’s mother, protecting her son from sunstroke on this hot day.
The boy enthusiastically catches fish. In his posture, tension is felt. Hands firmly hold a wooden self-made fishing rod. The face is serious and focused. The view is chained to a red float, peacefully swaying on the water. All the attention of the teenager is directed to the pond: “Suddenly the fish will now be pecking?” A little further from the boy on a wooden bench his family settled down.
The elder brother is dressed in the same light beige suit – long pants and a shirt with light buttons. The suit is girdled with a black strap. The young man is wearing long black boots. His brown short hair is not covered with
a cap. The sun shines directly into the eyes and makes your head hot. He screwed up his eyes from the bright sun, wrinkled his forehead and nose. The boy is exhausted by the scorching rays of the sun. Only in places falls the shadow of the branches of trees above it.
In the hands of a teenager holding a wooden fishing rod. It is noticeable that he is less fond of fishing. Sitting on the bench, crossed his legs, his right hand idly holds the fishing rod, the left is freely located along the body. It can be seen that the boy is not keen on fishing, probably the fish does not bite at all, and the process has already bored the young man. He lazily lounged on the bench, his body relaxed. It is felt that the young man is exhausted from the heat and very tired. To the left of the boy on the grass is a large black bucket with a fish caught.
On the bench there is a small white box, probably with baits – worms. On the back of the shop hangs a bright red veil. Next to the boy on the bench were his younger sister and mother. A girl with six-seven chestnut hair is dressed in gymnasium uniform: a brown dress with long sleeves, white cuffed cuffs and the same collar and a white beautiful apron.
The girl has red pantyhose and black boots. Her gaze rests on an open book with a black cover, which she holds in her hands. The girl is not very keen on reading, she has a tired face. She leaned against her mother on the left. The woman is wearing a beautiful white dress with long sleeves. It is trimmed with magnificent frills and girded with a dark belt. The woman’s blond hair is pulled back, the bangs fall on the forehead. On the legs – black shoes. In her hand, the mother holds a white umbrella that saves her from the rays of the bright sun and her little daughter. From the umbrella a shadow falls on them.
A woman with great attention and interest watches as the daughter does homework or simply reads a book. Her figure is tilted toward the girl, her eyes are lowered. The expression of a person is serious, focused on what is happening. She does not pay attention to the fishermen. Behind the people on the bench is a young girl, the eldest sister of children. She carefully and affectionately put her right hand on her brother’s shoulder, as if to encourage him and reassure him. The girl is dressed in a blue jacket with white trim on sleeves and along buttons and a long skirt. From under the collar of the jacket you can see a beautiful white blouse. Curly brown hair is laid back. The look of the girl is directed downwards. Fishing is not interesting to her. She looks attentively at her younger sister and mother, who are sitting on a bench, and watches with interest what is happening. From the branches of the tree, a shadow falls on her. All the space around is flooded with bright sun rays. A bright bright green grass covers the entire shore of the reservoir. In places, emerald colors of dark green plants and white small flowers are poured into this carpet. In the picture on the left is an old tree with a large brown trunk.
The right part of it is illuminated by bright rays of the sun, the left covers the shadow. Mighty branches with foliage of dark green color hang over the bench and create a shadow. The base of the tree is covered with young shoots and thick grass. In the left part of the picture there is a lake where boys are fishing. It shows the leaves of water lilies, grows sedge and other coastal vegetation. The water surface is motionless. In it, as in a mirror, the shore, branches of trees and the bright red float of the boy are reflected.
In the background of the picture are densely growing large trees, creating the impression of an impenetrable thicket. Through the greenery, small corners of a light blue sky can be seen. The whole environment says that the family has retired to a quiet corner of nature, where it is quiet, well and no one will disturb them. This hot day does not even feel the whiff of the wind. The birds do not sing. Hidden mosquitoes and flies. Everything around is exhausted by the heat. In the film “On a Hot Day”, as in many other paintings, VE Makovsky created unusually believable natural images of people, accurately noting their mood and feelings. All details on the canvas are written out with special care, which is a characteristic feature of all paintings of the painter.
In the picture you can feel life observation, experience. Critics note the special artistic value of this genre composition, performed in the landscape in bright sunlight. In the picture, space and air are felt. The unsurpassed “master of the picture-novella,” as VE Makovsky was often called, created over four hundred paintings for his creative life, as well as many drawings and illustrations to the works of Russian writers and poets.
Numerous watercolors, etchings and engravings are the creative legacy of the painter. For all is characterized by high artistic skill, specificity of the situation, clearly and carefully written out details. The works of VE Makovsky reflect the life of the Russian people for almost sixty years. Contradictory and ambiguous situation in Russia during this period appears before us in all its diversity thanks to the canvases of “the master of a short genre story” in painting – VE Makovsky.