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The Major Makes a Proposal (Inspecting a Bride in a Merchant’s House). Circa 1851

Fedotov Pavel,
Oil on canvas
56 x 76

State Russian Museum

Пост. в 1897 из Царскосельского Александровского дворца; ранее (до 1870 в собр. В.А.Кокорева (Москва)


The subject of this painting is linked to a poem written by the artist entitled Correcting Circumstances, or The Major’s Marriage (Foreword to a Picture). The work is mentioned in A Description of the Paintings and Studies of Pavel Fedotov: “The Major’s Marriage. Unfinished picture. A matchmaker brings a major to a merchant’s house. The head of the household hastily button himself up. The confused daughter attempts to flee, but her mother holds her back by her dress. Both are dressed up to receive the suitor.
There are various things to eat on the table. The cook brings in a pie, while the caretaker carries in the wine. An old woman comes in from another room to ask what the preparations are for. The caretaker points to the entering matchmaker.” The Russian Museum owns a repeat version of the original painting (1848, Tret. Gal.), for which Pavel Fedotov was elected to the Imperial Academy of Arts.

Author's Biography

Fedotov Pavel

Fedotov, Pavel Andreyevich
1815, Moscow -1852, St Petersburg
Painter, draughtsman, poet, genre artist, portraitist, battle painter. Born in the family of a minor civil servant. Studied at the First Moscow Military Academy (1826-33) and served as an officer in the Finland Life Guards Regiment in St Petersburg (1826-33). Attended drawing classes at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1834-44) and studied battle painting under Alexander Sauerweid. Resigned from the army in order to devote himself to painting (1840). Enrolled at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1844). Took up oil painting (1846). Academician for The Major Makes a Proposal (1848).

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