In 1960s, many great ironic paintings were created to reveal the dark society in Russia, and The Unequal Marriage is a great representative among them. It was made by Vasily Pukirev in1862, a Russian painter and illustrator.
The Unequal Marriage depicts a wedding ceremony scene of an old man and a young girl. The girl in the white wedding dress is highlighted compared to the rest of dim part. She is quite young and pretty, but no happiness can be seen on her face. She bows her head and her eyes look red as if she has been crying for all night the day before. Her left hand holding a candle is hanging listlessly. It should have been the happiest moment in her life, for every girl dreams to be the most beautiful bride. But she seems so unhappy, sad and numb, because she is going to marry an elderly, high-ranking official who would almost be her grandfather. The bridegroom stands beside her, baldheaded with thin white hair. Around the groom are his relatives with fateful faces who have the same status. Obviously, she hates this marriage, but she has no choice and she can’t escape from her fate in the corruption of bureaucracy society, and she reaches out her right hand to accept the ring from the priest.
There is a young man in the right side of the oil painting, with two hands crossed ahead of his chest. He is the image of the painter himself. He is looking at this hilarious marriage and feeling pity for the girl. Pukirev put himself in the painting to express his angry on the event, and other corrupted and sick events in the society. Pukirev painted all the people in The Unequal Marriage are in real-man size, intending to make it more real and shock to the viewers, and arouse the dormant social conscience and change society.