Vladimir Makovsky was born 26 January 1846, the son of Yegor Ivanovich Makovsky, an art collector. It was Yegor’s avid enthusiasm for art that led Vladimir, as well as both his brothers and sister, to begin practicing painting. Of the four, however, only Vladimir and his brother Constantine attained any amount of acclaim.
Although he was a simple accountant, Yegor nevertheless managed to accrue an impressive collection of Russian art, which drew many famous painters, authors and musicians to his house. Among these was artist Vasiliy Andreevich Tropinin, who became Vladimir's first tutor around the age of fifteen.
In 1861 Vladimir began attending the Moscow School of Painting and Sculpture, an art school his father helped found, where he studied under Evgraf Sorokin and Sergey Zaryanko. Makovsky excelled in his studies, graduating in 1866 with a silver medal. His graduating picture, The Literary Reading, was considered the best of his class.
From here he decided to continue his art education, applied and was accepted to the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. During this time he painted Peasant Boys Guarding Horses in the Night (1869) and The Office of the Doctor (1870). The former, an illustration of a scene from a story by Russian author Ivan Turgenev, won Makovsky a gold medal and the title of "Artist of the First Order", while the latter gained him renown with his contemporaries.
In 1873 Makovsky submitted another painting, Lovers of Nightingales, to the World Exhibition in Vienna, for which he was awarded first place by the Royal Society of Arts.
Makovsky spent most of his life in Moscow, where, in 1882, he began working fulltime at the School of Painting and Sculpture, as one of the school's most widely-respected teachers. Carrying on the traditions of his father, Makovsky's house was frequented by many established artists, actors, musicians and scientists, to tour his art collection as well as to visit with Vladimir himself, who was reportedly a highly charismatic and sociable man. In 1894 he stepped down from his position at the school, but continued teaching genre painting workshops until 1918, when he retired. He continued to receive a pension from the academy until his death on 21 February 1920.
Russian Painting. Temporis Collection, 2005.