A Boyar Wedding Feast
Hillwood Mansion, Pavilion
Makovskii, Konstantin Egorovich
RUSSIA: Saint Petersburg
Oil on canvas
H. 93 in., W. 154 in.
This large painting 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. The artist has singled out that moment during the wedding feast when the guests toast the bridal couple with the traditional chant of "goríko, goríko," meaning "bitter, bitter," a reference to the wine, which has supposedly turned bitter. The newlywed couple must kiss to make the wine sweet again. The toast occurs towards the end of the feast when a roasted swan is brought in, the last dish presented before the couple retires.
Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973
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