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The painting “Attack by surprise" was painted by the artist in 1871. This work is included in seven sketches about the unequal battles of the Russian detachment with enemies. This is a real battle painting, conveying an atmosphere of fear and pain.
The author tried to show the stamina of a Russian soldier. Despite the numerical minority, they proudly assert their right to be called a soldier. Quite unexpectedly, in the midst of a mountain valley, this bloody battle ensues. Enemy units jump on horseback with bare swords. But a handful of fighters were not at all afraid. On the contrary, the men rallied and are ready to give the last rebuff to the ill-wisher.
Vereshchagin was able to convey this important point. In the face of every Russian soldier, undisguised fear is visible, but courage does not allow to scatter and hide between the rocks. Enemies with a solid line extending beyond the horizon, advancing on a small detachment. We see weapons and banners raised by desperate horsemen above their heads. Russian soldiers flee from tents to help their faithful comrades. Already there are first victims, someone at that very moment dies under the horse's hooves.
Nature on this day is bright and calm. The mountain peaks are covered with a slight haze, and the skies are blue. Only the world and beautiful landscapes seem to be far away. This is in the foreground a bloody battle and yellowed grass under the feet of soldiers. The peaks are covered with snow and do not portend anything bad, they sleep peacefully, and they are not interested in the war taking place below.
This is a general impression of the author's Turkestan war. The plot does not bear any historical fact. Such situations were everywhere during that period.
Stories have repeatedly studied this canvas, but have not found credibility in the depicted slaughter. But this author did not seek to convey, he wanted to depict the courage and patriotism of a Russian soldier. That it is impossible to break it, even when thousandth units of enemies are approaching.
Description Painting Serebryakov At Breakfast