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Hen Party. 1889

Korzukhin Alexei,
Oil on canvas
93,5 х 153

State Russian Museum

Пост.: 1927 из ГМФ


Although Orthodoxy was the official religion of Russia, pagan ceremonies that were deeply embedded among the populace continued to live on. Right up until the 17th century the Devichnik, a ceremony in which the bride said farewell to her carefree unmarried life, was considered a court ceremony. It was held on the day before the wedding, when a ritual of cleansing took place in which the bride was washed in a well-heated bath-house. Alexei Korzukhin’s painting shows her returning from the bath-house. The bride’s friends have surrounded her and are singing songs as they accompany her home. All the actions that we can see in the picture – the person beating a copper basin with an oven fork, the path being swept, etc – are quite deliberate; they are magical in nature and act as charms. The artist has paid special attention to the purely ethnographic aspect, and shows the richness and variety of Russian festive dress with great documentary accuracy.

Author's Biography

Korzukhin Alexei

Korzukhin, Alexei Ivanovich
1835, Uktus (Perm Province)– 1894, St Petersburg
Painter, author of genre, religious and history paintings. Born into a family of mining plant peasants. Student of an icon painter in his childhood. Studied at the Mining School in Ekaterinburg, worked on commissions for private clients. Moved to St Petersburg (1857). Studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1858–1863). Academician (from 1868). Member of the St Petersburg Artel of Artists (from 1863).Founding member of the Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (1871), though he was not actively involved in the Society’s activities. Contributed to exhibitions of the Imperial Academy of Arts, the Society of Art Exhibitions and the World Exhibitions in London, Vienna, Philadelphia and Paris (from 1865).

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