The canvas “The Transition of Suvorov through the Alps” was written by V. Surikov from 1895 to 1899. The work continues the theme of the military heroism of Russian people in history. The plot for this historical composition was the fact of the Russian army passing the alpine pass, considered impregnable, during the Italian campaign in 1799.
Sketches for painting Surikov wrote on the site of the historic transition, in the Swiss Alps. The main thing on the canvas is movement. It begins in the distance, in the gorge. Approaching the foreground, the movement increases. And the front group of soldiers is shown at the moment of rapid avalanche descent. The painter paints the terrible nature of the Alps, emphasizing the complexity and heroism of the transition.
The vertical arrangement of the canvas made it possible to show the smallest space of a steep rock as concentrated as possible and to increase the sense of impetuous movement. At the very edge of the plummet – commander Alexander Suvorov. Hardly restraining the horse on the edge of the abyss, he jokes encourages the soldiers. How much energy in his figure, how much liveliness in his face! A few soldiers laugh contagiously in response, going after them – turning their heads, listen to the conversation. Soldiers in the foreground of the picture are busy descending – they are no longer up to jokes.
Carefully transfers Surikov all the details of the historical era: clothing, uniforms, weapons. Remarkably works out the expressions of warriors’ faces. Everyone experiences the tension of the moment in different ways. The faces of the majority are tense, focused. Despite the deadly danger, they remain true to their military duty and show real courage.
They are united by the desire to overcome the pass and to win. Surikov’s painting “Suvorov’s crossing the Alps” showed the Russian army as a single undivided force. And, of course, the main thing in the picture is an image of the heroism of the people, their heroism.