Table of contents:
- Central Asian series of paintings by Vasily Vereshchagin
- Painting of the Indian period
- Series of works "Russian North"
Vasily Vereshchagin - an outstanding Russian painter of legendary fate and glory, a great traveler, a "desperate revolutionary", a fighter for peace. - this is how Ilya Repin spoke about him. The authority of his name was so great that in 1901 the artist was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, but for a number of reasons he never received it.
Vasily Vasilyevich studied and lived in St. Petersburg, Tashkent, Munich, Paris, Moscow. The artist spent his entire life and career in wanderings and in the areas of hostilities, being at the easel for 12-14 hours a day. He took part in expeditions and travels in the Caucasus, Turkestan, Western China, Semirechye, India and Palestine. He traveled a lot in Europe and Russia. He visited the Philippine Islands and Cuba, the Tien Shan mountains, America and Japan., - this is how Ivan Kramskoy wrote about Vereshchagin.
The fate of this brilliant artist, who was born in 1842 into a poor family of a leader of the nobility in the small town of Cherepovets, Novgorod province, is amazing. Eight years old, the little boy enters the military Alexander cadet corps for minors, followed by the St. Petersburg naval corps, which he graduated with honors. And not at all because of interest in naval affairs and military subjects, but because he could not afford to "be behind others."
The acquired knowledge of foreign languages in the corpus greatly helped Vereshchagin in his further wanderings. And even from those years, associated with rough drilling, strict discipline, despotism, he began to perceive the injustice and humiliation of a person very sharply.
Having received the rank of midshipman in 1860, and with this a wide opportunity for career growth as a naval officer, Vereshchagin abruptly makes an unexpected act for everyone: he leaves the naval service and enters the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. And this is all despite the protest of relatives and the refusal of the father to help his son financially. But the future artist did not abandon his intentions, hoping for an academic scholarship, the right to which he really received. However, after studying for three years and realizing that "they are doing nonsense at the Academy," in 1863 he went to the Caucasus, where he worked a lot from nature and created a whole series of paintings.
And a year later, as a result of the death of a rich uncle, Vereshchagin receives an inheritance and he is given a wonderful opportunity to continue his artistic education in Paris. And already, having masterfully mastered the basics of oil painting and, having found his own creative style, the artist returns to the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts and graduates from it.
Central Asian series of paintings by Vasily Vereshchagin
Then began in the life of the painter one by one trip to the centers of hostilities, where he was repeatedly wounded. As a military artist, he also visited Samarkand, where he showed courage and heroism, for which he was awarded the Order of St. George, 4th degree; and in Turkestan, where he participated in its conquest.
In those years, he creates a whole series of worksdedicated to the events taking place in Central Asia, as well as the life of people of all strata of society.
Living in Turkestan, the artist observed the contrast between the bright life of the rich and the beggarly existence of the powerless poor.
The greatness of the historical past interested Vereshchagin in any country where he lived and traveled.
Painting of the Indian periodTraveling around the countries, Vereshchagin watched with interest the life of peoples, visited all kinds of cultural and historical monuments, endured hardships, endangered life. So, living in India, he more than once had to fight off wild animals, drown in a river, freeze on mountain peaks, and get sick with severe tropical malaria.
But by the beginning of the Russian-Turkish war of 1877, Vereshchagin volunteered for the army as an adjutant with the right to move freely around the military units. And again, the artist with his easel will be on the front line, where he will be seriously wounded.
Throughout his career, Vasily Vereshchagin organized personal exhibitions in different countries of the world, after which the press wrote a lot about the battle artist and his canvases:
All exhibitions battle paintings in Western Europe, England, America had overwhelming success. But, having brought his works to his homeland, Vereshchagin will face misunderstanding on the part of Emperor Alexander II and his entourage, who accused the painter of anti-patriotism. Unjust criticism and unjustified accusations will cause such a negative reaction from the artist that, being in a nervous shock, he will burn several of his paintings. And later he will write:
Series of works "Russian North"In 1890, the painter's desire to return to his homeland and live in his house on the outskirts of the capital finally came true, but he did not have to live in it for a long time.
The road called again, and the artist set off on a journey through the North of Russia. He studied with interest the monuments, everyday life of the population, nature, applied arts. From this trip, he brought many portraits of "unremarkable Russians" - the faces of ordinary people from the people.
This unique artist was subject to both the portrait genre and landscapes, historical and everyday subjects.
And at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, progressive-minded figures of world culture nominated Vasily Vereshchagin for the Nobel Peace Prize. But after in 1900 the artist's canvases about the war between Russia and Napoleon in 1812 were not admitted to the World Exhibition in Paris, the battle painter was not given a prize. The French government considered that these works were an insult to the national pride of the French.
And when the Russo-Japanese war begins, Vereshchagin will again find himself in the active fleet and will die on March 31, 1904 on the flagship battleship Petropavlovsk, which was blown up by a Japanese mine. At the time of the death of the battleship, a miraculously surviving officer saw Vasily Vasilyevich working on another sketch.
The interest in Vereshchagin painting in world society was incredibly high. They talked about him literally everywhere., - from the memoirs of Benoit, - "….
A series of paintings by Vasily Vereshchagin, a genius of battle painting dedicated to the wars of the 19th century, can be viewed in the first part of the review.