Today we are taking a look at another lot from the upcoming in June auction of Russian art at Christie’s in London. This time we would like to draw your attention to the “Recling Nude”, also known as “Etude (Nu)” painted by Konstantin Makovsky.
Although the exact year of the work is unknown, archival investigation reveals the history of this work.
Konstantin Makovsky was a talented painter and left behind an impressive oeuvre of work. He was an accomplished portraitist, master of large historical canvases, skilled landscape painter and a connoisseur of the nude, which he frequently turned to in his work.
At the end of the 1900s and beginning of the 1910s, Makovsky painted allegorical images of bacchants, forest fairies, and referenced various mythologies in such works as his famous “The Birth of Venus”. However, the artist was also painting nude models who frequented his studio on the Petrograd side of St Petersburg.
Makovsky often presented his paintings at exhibitions held by the St. Petersburg Society of Artists, of which he was elected a member in 1899, and where he exhibited annually until the end of his life. It is very likely that this work was shown at the XVIII Exhibition in 1910 and was included in the catalog under the number 121 as "Etude (Nu)".
Makovsky repeatedly used the expressive features of the blonde with gorgeous curls, parted lips and languid blue eyes — she brings a certain sense of eroticism to his works.
In the later period, the artist often painted with a dry brush, imitating pastels using oil. This technique can also be observed in this work. The interior wall is decorated with a tapestry from the rich collection of antique objects belonging to the artist himself, and the sprawling palm tree in the tub reflects the interior style of the era.
"Etude (Nu)" perfectly illustrates the late work of Konstantin Makovsky, as well as the time in which it was created.