One of Vasnetsov’s first paintings was a picture from the epic cycle “After the Battle of Igor Svyatoslavovich with the Polovtsians.” The reason for creating this work was the legend “The Lay of Igor’s Host”.
I think in this picture the author wanted to praise the heroism of the soldiers of the army of Ancient Rus, to present the event with a sad and solemn ceremony. Here attention is accented not on the very battle of the soldiers, but on the monumentality of the feat in defense of their homeland.
The picture can be conditionally divided into two elements. In the foreground are depicted Russian soldiers, behind them, we can see the bodies of enemies. The author depicted the bodies of the dead at the end of the battle, which are scattered across the field, in those places where the soldier found death. I saw in the picture of one soldier, he looks directly at me with his clouded gaze, in his eyes sadness and anguish. Next to him lies a compatriot, mortally wounded in his heart.
Vasnetsov portraying Russian soldiers puts out color accents. I noticed that red shades predominate, for example boots, shields, etc. The birds of prey fly intrepidly over the bodies of dead birds in search of prey, creating a gloomy mood. In the background, the sunset is depicted, you can see how the smoke rises above the ground. The artist, depicting grass, resorts to dark shades, as if emphasizing attention to lifelessness. We seem to hear this grave silence, which hangs over the battlefield.
The author not only painted the image of past events in the picture, he urges to become the main hero of his picture, to take part in a historical event and to feel all the cruelty and horror in the imagination. Vasnetsov hints at us that we must not forget our history, that we must remember our heroes who gave their lives for their homeland.