The Road to the War Prisoners
The object that I chose was a painting called “The Road to the War Prisoners.” It was painted by a realist painter, Vasili Vereshchagin. He was best known for his realistic war and combat paintings and this one was no different. This painting was created around 1878 at the tail end of the Russo-Turkish war. Vereshchagin worked as a war correspondent and traveled to Pleven, in northern Bulgaria to cover the war in 1877. As they were traveling to the Russian camps in Romania they came across the defeated Turkish soldiers, freezing to death. He was able to witness firsthand the Russian triumph over the Turks.
This painting itself may hold great significance but it represents a much bigger picture. The Russo-Turkish war was made up of several smaller wars between Russia and the Ottoman Empire that took place from 1676 and finally ended in 1878. These wars were also apart of two bigger wars known as the Great Northern War and the Crimean War. These wars were a reflection of the Russians growing territory and the Ottoman Empire coming to a decline. Russia was able to extend its land southward to the Black Sea, southwest to the Prut River and south of the Caucasus Mountains in Asia.
Vereshchagin completed a series of twenty-five paintings that showed the process of warfare. He was very outspoken about war and was able to show people what exactly he and the soldiers had witnessed the last two years of the war. He tried to sell it to the czar in St. Petersburg but he deemed the subject “impossible” so he was able to sell it a few years later in New York because people were still sympathetic and vulnerable after the Civil War. His paintings also tried to help those who didn’t know what was going on, to see the firsthand effects of war and why they were fighting.
The last of the Russo-Turkish war was declared on April, 24th, 1877 when the czar declared war against Turkey. The purpose was to right the wrongs of the Christians in Turkey....