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The painting was painted in 1878. Vereshchagin dedicated it to a significant event: the assault on Plevna, in which a huge number of Russian soldiers died. The artist deeply empathized with the suffering and heroism of the soldiers.
The canvas belongs to the Balkan series of paintings that the author created from 1878 to 1881. Vereshchagin was very worried about the harsh military reality, which served as an occasion for writing several cycles of military-themed paintings.
The canvas “Under Plevna” shows us heroism and a brutal existence during the years of a difficult war. In the background are tents in which wounded soldiers were received. A panorama in the distance shows the fire and smoke of a recent battle.
It is easy to understand that there was not enough space for everyone in the dressing room, and the exhausted soldiers were waiting for help lying on the ground. Someone else can walk himself, some of the fighters are carried on a stretcher. Perhaps among them there are already dead.
Around scorched, saturated with blood and suffering land. The sultry sun exacerbates the already difficult situation of the soldiers. Weapons are scattered everywhere. But who knows, maybe this is not the last fight and how much evil will still be shed in these places ...
The artist depicted the harsh military reality without smoothing hard angles, showing the severity and gravity of the events in all their unsightly and merciless moments. Indeed, during the war years this was everywhere.
Vereshchagin, created the canvas with historical accuracy. To do this, he studied a lot of documentation and specific material. He drew each soldier individually so that there were no identical poses or gestures. Vereshchagin was able to convey the whole depth of suffering and the power of the Russian spirit. The artist seemed to be there, near Plevna, next to the dressing station.
After 200 years, we can plunge into the thick of things and survive all the pain and heroism of Russian soldiers. Vereshchagin’s canvas gives us awareness and memory of a significant battle near Plevna.
Ecstasy of St. Theresa