The painting "Matchmaking of the Major" is the most famous painting of the Russian artist Pavel Andreyevich Fedotov. Its plot is closely connected with real stories of that time.
Often impoverished nobles sought to marry the daughters of the merchants, which allowed them to receive a rich dowry. Thus, they exchanged their nobility for gold, while the merchants received good connections and generosity for their grandchildren. Naturally, there was no talk of any love; it was not on either one or the other.
A similar picture from life we see in Fedotov. The groom-officer stands aside, twisting a tight mustache and thinking about the rich jackpot that he can get after the wedding. Against a central background, a frightened and cutesy bride, dressed in a rich pink and white dress (which is perhaps the only positive character in this picture), is trying to escape from her mother, who authoritarianly holds her daughter.
Nearby is the girl’s father, who is hastily buttoning his coat frock and is also considering his benefits from the upcoming wedding. The matchmaker is facing the father of the family and is trying to hide the excitement of the bride. Near the servant, with irony watching what is happening, prepares the room for the meeting of an important guest. And only the kitten in the foreground of the picture is busy with its important business, it is washed with a pleased look and does not think about the upcoming engagement.
Thus, the canvas tells us about a simple "sale" of a girl who was brought up, dressed up, educated her only in order to later marry profitably for her own benefit. We understand that with this approach, a person turns into a thing. Recall the words of the famous dowager N.A. Ostrovsky Larisa: "I am a thing, a beautiful toy." A thing that you can, if desired, sell and profit from its sale.
Contemporaries greeted the painting with approval, the leading newspapers of St. Petersburg wrote about it, pointing to such wedding deals as a shameful spot on the morals of their time.
Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin Pictures