Deadly wounded, Vereshchagin – overview of the painting

Deadly wounded, Vereshchagin – overview of the painting
Deadly wounded, Vereshchagin - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Vasily Vasilievich Vereshchagin
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1873

Overview of the painting :

Deadly wounded – Vasily Vasilievich Vereshchagin. 1873. Oil on canvas. 73 x 56.6 cm

   What a life irony – a person who, with all his creativity, showed his rejection of the war, turned out to be the best batalist in Russian history and died defending his Fatherland during the Russian-Japanese war.

   The picture is actually a snapshot, one fragment from the life of the depicted character, and the very last moment when he is already saying goodbye to life. The hero is still alive, but his earthly existence will be interrupted as soon as his run ends and he falls to the ground. He understands that he is wounded, feels a deadly cold, but hope has not yet left him. The soldier runs, trying to save himself, or maybe he is just being conducted by the instinct of self-preservation.

   An abandoned rifle and killed soldiers lying next to the fleeing tell us the story of a fierce battle. The artist captured one of the fragments of hostilities in Central Asia. This is clearly hinted by the light form of the soldiers, their “colonial” hats protecting against the scorching sun. The master was surprisingly well able to convey the very atmosphere of this place – dazzling white light, blue shadows melting high clay-beat whitewashed walls in powder smoke, a feeling of a dry and lifeless plot of land.

   Working on this canvas, the artist risked the fact that contemporaries would not understand him, they would consider that she did not expose the soldiers as heroes, but as cowards fleeing from bullets. But he always had his point of view on the war, which he had defended all his life. His picture is a direct accusation of war as killers of people who could live for decades. The expression of deadly horror on the face of a wounded soldier tells us that he understands what awaits him, but tries not to escape from bullets, but seeks to save his life.

   Although the war, which the artist constantly exposed in his work, eventually overtook the artist, just like the hero of his canvas, the works of the master remained to live. And today they constantly expose the true essence of war as a meaningless and cruel way of exterminating people.