Description of the picture:
Conquered. Memorial service – Vasily Vasilyevich Vereshchagin. 1877. Oil on canvas. 100 eighty x three hundred cm.
Before Vereshchagin, in art, war was demonstrated only from its “front” side. Portraits of heroes were made, large-scale pictures of victorious operations were shown, in a word, her merits were praised in every possible way. The great master of battle scenes was able to show us the war from the other side. This grief, failure, devastation and mass casualties – a huge number of ruined lives, which the military machine fiercely absorbed.
The picture depicts only two living people – a priest who serves as a memorial service for fallen warriors, and a commander who came to say goodbye to his dead friends and soldiers. All the other place of the picture is a tremendous field extending beyond the horizon and beyond the borders of the picture, one hundred percent 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 painter clearly demonstrated that in any war an unlimited number of people die on both sides, and only a few survive.
The canvas produces a massive emotional memory for the audience. Striking and artistic skill, and the scale of execution. The entire right side of the picture is lifeless, faded yellow, while the bodies of the fallen are actually connected 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. A huge number of lives were destroyed simply because someone decided to wage a war. Here the war is correctly designated as stupid, stupid and fierce liquidation of the most valuable thing – human life.
The complex theme of the painting is emphasized by the spectrum chosen by the artist – dull, inexpressive colors, black clothes of living people, a gloomy, lead-filled rain sky. Nature itself mourned the innocent fallen heroes of Plevna."