“The vanquished. It depicts the devastating consequences of the famous assault on the Bulgarian city of Plevna. For the Russian army, these consequences were expressed in enormous human losses.
By the time the picture was created in Russia, a tendency appeared to depict military parades and maneuvers. Unlike many artists, war for Vereshchagin is always war. A great tragedy for millions of people, and not only the dead, but also the survivors.
The canvas depicts a huge field and the sky, overcast. On the field are the bodies of the dead soldiers, slightly sprinkled with yellowish earth. The entire space, as you can see, is occupied by the bodies of the dead, from the beginning of the field to the horizon. Vereshchagin was able to transfer to the canvas a feeling of longing, hopelessness and complete doom.
Near the field are two people with bare heads. This is the commander saying goodbye to the fallen soldiers, and the priest serving in them a requiem. Two living - and a vast field with the dead.
The painting “The Conquered. Memorial service ”is made in restrained autumn-tonal colors: light blue, beige, various shades of brownish. These colors are chosen to emphasize the tragedy of the situation.
Contemporaries praised the development and execution of the work.
The canvas can cause a double feeling. Compassion for the fallen soldiers is one thing. The outrage that this is even possible is another. With such works, the artist addresses both his contemporaries and future generations, showing them what the word “war” really means. Not only beautiful parades, heroism, marches, but also such fields dotted with corpses. This is the opinion of Vereshchagin - a Russian officer who went through many wars of the second half of the 19th century and died in the navy in Russian-Japanese.
Picture by Rubens Perseus And Andromeda