In the 1880s he became a fashioned author of portraits and historical paintings. At the [[Exposition Universelle (1889)|World's Fair of 1889]] in Paris he received the ''Large Gold Medal'' for his paintings ''Death of [[Ivan IV of Russia|Ivan the Terrible]]'', ''The [[Judgement of Paris (mythology)|Judgement of Paris]]'', and ''Demon and Tamara''. He was one of the most highly appreciated and highly paid Russian artists of the time. Many democratic critics considered him as a renegade of the Wanderers' ideals, producing (like [[Henryk Siemiradzki]]) striking but shallow works, while others see him as a forerunner of Russian [[Impressionism]].
Makovsky was killed in 1915 when his horse-drawn carriage was hit by an electric tram in Saint Petersburg.