Vereshchagin Vasily Vasilyevich
(14(26).10.1842 - 31.03(13.04).1904)
An outstanding Russian battle painter.
Born in Cherepovets in the family of the local leader of the nobility. At the age of 9 he entered the Naval Cadet Corps, graduating as a midshipman. After a short period of service, Vereshchagin retired and in 1860 began studying at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, but after three years he left her, not satisfied with the teaching system. He spent about a year in the Caucasus, and then went to Paris, where he studied and worked under the guidance of Jean-Leon Gerome.
In 1866, Vereshchagin completed his studies and a year later he accepted an invitation from the Turkestan Governor-General to be an artist with him. Shortly after arriving in Samarkand, he received a baptism of fire, enduring with a handful of Russian soldiers a heavy siege of the city by rebel local residents. His role in this defense was awarded the Order of St. George, Grade 4, which he proudly wore, although he denied any awards at all.
In early 1869, with the assistance of the Governor-General, Vereshchagin organized a “Turkestan exhibition” in St. Petersburg, where he demonstrated works written in Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, and Kazakh steppes.
The Turkestan Series of bright paintings was painted by Vereshchagin in Munich in 1871-1874. It consisted of a whole group of battle (almost documentary) paintings, such as “Let them enter”, “Enter”, “Surround”, “Persecute”, “Attack by surprise”. The artist's talent reflected the real value of the emperor's imperial ambitions in the Middle Eastern companies. The death of soldiers in foreign countries, the fight against the eastern armies and the constant uprisings of the local population. Life and wild mores of the local population.
Participation in military campaigns laid down the artist's own vision of the war, the attitude towards the death of ordinary soldiers. His paintings are filled with a special philosophy and critical attitude toward war. This style often led to the criticism of his paintings, and even the condemnation of the artist by the emperor and his entourage.
After the exhibition and demonstration of his “Turkestan” series of paintings, he was subjected to constant attacks, criticism and even displeasure of Tsar Alexander II.
But Vereshchagin highly valued his own opinion, freedom and dignity and did not seek the support of those in power, he generally avoided the “high society”, despite his fame in Europe and Russia. In 1874, Vereshchagin was offered the title of Professor of the Academy of Arts. But he publicly rejected it, citing the fact that he considers "all the ranks and differences in art are certainly harmful."
In 1874-1876 Vereshchagin lived in India, traveling also to Tibet.
Since the beginning of the Russian-Turkish war of 1877, he enlisted as a volunteer in the army, having received the position of adjutant with the possibility of free movement in the army. In the same year, Vereshchagin was seriously wounded aboard the Pike destroyer.
1878-1879 were devoted to work in Paris, as a result of which the “Balkan series” of paintings by Vereshchagin was released.
In 1882-1884, Vereshchagin again traveled around India, Syria, Palestine, and he spent the summer of 1894 traveling around the Russian north — the White Sea, Northern Dvina, Solovki.
In 1896, Vereshchagin created a series of paintings dedicated to the war of 1812.
Continuing his working trips, Vereshchagin spent the summer of 1899 in the Crimea, in 1901 visited the Philippine Islands, in 1902, the USA and Cuba, in 1903, Japan.
With the beginning of the Russian-Japanese war, Vereshchagin found himself in the active fleet.
He died on the battleship "Petropavlovsk", hit a mine on the outer roadstead of Port Arthur.
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