Description of the artwork «The apotheosis of war»
Working on the most known for his painting Vasily Vereshchagin had in mind a very specific historical context – he was going to call it "the Triumph of Tamerlane". However, when the work was finished, the artist realized that he had created a universal image, a powerful anti-war statement, beyond any historical era, person or a legend.
Prone to sarcasm, Vereshchagin often supplied his paintings dedications, titles or annotations, which unnerved notebook patriots stronger than the fabric. We can assume that painting, painting effects bloody storming of Plevnawould be greeted by the Royal family much more favorably, if the artist was not going to call her "Royal birthday". A triptych depicting the freezing time, would not have caused such a violent reaction, if not Vereshchagin gave it a pungent name "All quiet on SHIPKA".
"The apotheosis of war" no exception: to avoid confusion, the artist made the inscription on the frame: "Dedicated to all great conquerors, past, present and future".
"It's not only what skills Vereshchagin wrote your brushes dry burned the steppe and in it a pyramid of skulls, with crows flying around, finds another survivor, maybe a piece of meat– wrote about this painting, the critic Vladimir Stasov. – No! There was the painting something more precious and higher than the extraordinary vereschaginskiy virtuality of colors: a deep sense of the historian and judge of mankind."
And as an artist and as a "judge of mankind" Vereshchagin always aspired to objectivity, always tried to show both sides of the coin. If he wrote a picture called "After good luck", it certainly has balanced her canvas, which was called "After the failure"if painted The "winners"necessarily have time for The "losers". From most "military" of the paintings of Vereshchagin's "the Apotheosis of war" has a certainty of the author's position: there's no other bottom, nor the reverse. Mountain issecheny swords skulls, gaping in a silent cry dead mouths, scavengers, feasting in the middle of a barren desert – this is the essence of any war, its genuine character and the only result.
"If you don't count the Raven, a still life, translated from the French nature morte"- said about the picture itself Vereshchagin.
Today, "the Apotheosis of war" - the object of numerous imitations and parodies, the visual meme, not knowing neither time nor geographical boundaries. Born in the USSR I remember him in school textbooks, those who are younger face with its echoes, for example in cinema – from "Terminator"until recently "Survivors".
However, the efficacy of Vasily Vereshchagin as "judge of mankind" was already clear to his contemporaries. Being in the USA at the invitation of the art Institute of Chicago, the artist wrote out the letter: "The proposal led to the exhibition of children at a low price I was told that my paintings are able to turn away from war youth, which, according to "masters" of these undesirable". Hardly Vereshchagin – the first ever nominee for the Nobel peace prize – could count on the best compliment.