I was greatly impressed by the picture of the painter-painter Vasily Vasilyevich Vereshchagin, “The Defeated, Memorial Service.” It is completely unlike any of the military cycle. It is attributed to the Balkan period, dedicated to the Russian-Turkish war. In it, the author showed all the most terrible and tragic that war brings. He knew this firsthand, because he himself took part in the hostilities.
The canvas shows us a terrible picture. We see an endless field on which lie many human corpses. Their bodies are already a bit shrouded in grass. If this grass and not tree-like plants between the bodies, the impression would be that there is not a single gap between the corpses, so many of them. On the side, as if their heads are a priest. He holds a requiem for the deceased. Behind the priest there is a Russian soldier. Apparently, this is the commander. His gaze is directed into the distance. All his thoughts probably take remorse. Indeed, it is possible, because of his fault, that many soldiers died.
The painting evokes a feeling of pity, sorrow, and tragedy. Very symbolically, the author painted grass and bodies. It feels like all the bodies are dressed in white clothes, and the grass emits a warm and pleasant light. Also, among the dark and cloud-covered sky, the rays of the sun are falling. This gives the feeling that all these souls are in Paradise.
This canvas is considered by many historians as high in design and execution. The author very accurately conveyed feelings of compassion and empathy. He wanted to show the harsh truth of a ruthless war and call for peace and compassion.