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HOME : Decorative Arts : Paintings : A Boyar Wedding Feast
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A Boyar Wedding Feast - PF.5294
Origin: Russia
Circa: 1839 AD to 1915 AD
Dimensions: 6.5" (16.5cm) high x 9.5" (24.1cm) wide
Collection: Decorative
Medium: Enamel on Wood

Location: United States
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This work is a faithful enamel replica of the oil painting by a Russian artist Konstantin Makovsky (1839- 1915), called A Boyar Wedding Feast. The original work is a large painting that depicts one of the most important social and political events of old Russia, a wedding uniting two families of the powerful boyar class that dominated Muscovite politics in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Showing the moment during the wedding feast when the guests toast the newlyweds with the traditional chant of “gor’ko”, meaning “bitter”, a reference to the wine, which has supposedly turned bitter, the scene anticipates the first kiss between the bridal couple to sweeten the wine. The toast takes place towards the end of the feast, indicated by the large platter of a whole roasted swan, which marks the last course of the evening before the couple retires. 

The wedding takes place in a hall that bears reminiscence to those in an old palace in the Kremlin. Various men and women in elaborate costumes of the period are grouped around a table in the centre. The couple stands at the head of the table, where the groom presents his bride to the wedding guests and sees her without her veil for the first time. She appears rather timid, forlorn, and reluctant, while the elderly attendant standing next to her, the “Lady of the Ceremony” gently urges the bride.

Luxurious details such as silver goblets, richly embroidered garments of the dress, and an ivory chest with a silver bowl in the foreground are particularly noteworthy. The bride and other women wear pearl- studded kokoshniki, a Russian women’s headdress. 

The original work has been awarded a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle d’Anvers in Antwerp, Belgium in 1885. It now resides in the Hillwood Estate, Museums & Gardens in Washinton D.C., United States.

References : Link to the original work : ion/item/51.79?r=/collection/search? s=boyar Schumann, Charles William, Art and Gems, (1891), pp. 25–27. "Russian Wedding Feast”, in The Index, The Index Company, ed. By De Wolfe, Tensard, (1904), 11 (11): 23
- (PF.5294)


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