Russian artist Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky (1839-1915) is known for his historical paintings that show an idealized view of life in Russia in the past centuries. If you’re a fiend for paintings of sumptuous jewels and fabrics like I am, he’s worth checking out. This picture always makes me pause though. I’m convinced that’s a 19th century gender-queer prettyboy playing dress-up in his mother’s clothes. And yes, I’m sort of in love with him. I’d like to write a screenplay about his life story. I’m picturing Ezra Miller for the role. Fighting against a rigid and narrow-minded patriarchy. Being beaten in the streets for daring to buck the heteronormative standards of the time. A czarist Freak Show, if you will. I see Oscars for the costume designers. Any collaborators want to givbe it a whirl?
The title of the painting, btw, is “The Boyaryina,” which is probably where I got the idea that she’s a he, even though it just means she’s a member of an old order of Russian nobility, ranking immediately below the princess.