Vera Koo offers wisdom about evolving into appreciating the simple and fine things you find in life and in people. She describes how following this wisdom helped her become a different artist.

As I stood in front of the painting showing a 17th-century young Russian bride preparing for her wedding, I wondered what the girl must have been thinking.

Was she nervous? Scared? 

The Russian Bride’s Attire by Konstantin Makovsky

Knowing the tradition of that time and culture and reading the mood on her face and throughout the room, I could see that this is probably an arranged marriage. This girl will be wed to an older man. I can imagine if you must marry at such a young age, to someone whom you do not know well, you could be overcome with emotion and trepidation in the moments before the wedding. The girl is beautiful, and she wears a noble dress, but she’s also marked by a somber expression.

The room shown in the painting is full of women, most of whom are older than the bride. One woman – perhaps the girl’s mother – braids the bride’s long brown hair. A man stands in the doorway holding a box, while a woman ushers him out of the room. I wonder if the man is the bride’s father.

Another girl, maybe the bride’s sister or a close friend, kneels at her feet.

The painting is full of drama and emotion, and I became enraptured by the scene as I stood last summer in the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco. I joined my sister-in-law for a visit to see Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei’s Couture Fantasy exhibit displayed in the museum.


As impressive as Guo Pei’s fashion designs were – she blends showmanship with historical China in gorgeous displays – it was this 1889 oil painting, “The Russian Bride’s Attire,” by Konstantin Makovsky, that most captivated me.

Minutes passed. Finally, my sister-in-law retrieved me.

I have always loved art, and I majored in commercial art in college.

Continue reading about how Vera evolved into a different artist at Women’s Outdoor News.


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