Conquered. 180 x 300 cm.
Before Vereshchagin in art, war was demonstrated exclusively from its “front” side. Portraits of heroes were performed, large-scale pictures of victorious operations were shown, in a word, her achievements were praised in every way. The great master of battle scenes managed to show us the war from the other side. This grief, misfortune, devastation and mass casualties are the many ruined lives that the military machine mercilessly swallowed.
The picture depicts only two living people - a priest who serves as a requiem for the fallen soldiers, and a commander who came to say goodbye to his dead friends and soldiers. The rest of the space of the picture is a huge field that goes beyond the horizon and beyond the picture, completely covered with dead bodies. These are Russian soldiers and officers who fell in a fierce battle near Plevna during the Russian-Turkish war. With this laconic trick, the artist clearly demonstrated that in any war, a huge number of people die on both sides, and only a few survive.
The canvas makes a powerful emotional impression on the audience. Striking and artistic skill, and scale execution. The entire right side of the picture is a dead, faded yellowish color, and the bodies of the fallen almost merge with the color of the earth. This is emphasized by the fact that they no longer belong to the world of the living, but become part of the earth, ashes. Many lives were destroyed simply because someone decided to fight. Here, war is clearly designated as meaningless, stupid and brutal destruction of the most valuable thing - human life.
The complex theme of the picture is emphasized by the color chosen by the artist - dull, inexpressive colors, dark clothes of living people, a gloomy, rain-filled sky with lead. Nature itself mourned the innocently fallen heroes of Plevna.