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“Samarkand”, Vasily Vasilyevich Vereshchagin – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

Samarkand – Vasily Vasilyevich Vereshchagin. 1869. Oil on canvas. 43 x 51 cm
The painting “Samarkand” by Vasily Vasilyevich Vereshchagin depicts the famous Registan Square in front of the Ulugbek Madrasah. Since ancient times, Registan was considered the center of the city and the main bazaar. It was here that the most significant holidays and the largest festivities took place. Over the area for many centuries the endless rumble of bargaining merchants and buyers rose, the impulses of the drovers, the sounds of music, singing and prayers were heard.

The painting was painted in 1869 and was included in a special Turkestan series of the artist. After participating in the defense of the Samarkand fortress, Vereshchagin was fascinated by the search for a new writing technique and the transfer with the brush of the tart, colorful atmosphere of oriental life. In the end, the cycle brought together thirteen artistic canvases, eighty-one studies and more than a hundred sketches.

In many paintings of the Turkestan series, you can see the image of the main square of Samarkand, both during celebrations and on weekdays.

The canvas “Samarkand” is an illustration of the daily life of the city. In front of the viewer, in the rays of the hot sun, overlooks a small market. The product is located, most often, just on carpets under improvised canopies, a few buyers wander between them. There is a feeling that the square has long lost its former glory. The bazaar seems to be a quiet and provincial place, and the madrasah in the background bears traces of desolation and slow destruction.

The Turkestan series incredibly surprised both spectators and professionals. The paintings of this cycle were too unusual, original, bright. The abundance of colors, juiciness and liveliness of images born of the artist’s skill for many of his contemporaries have become a real revelation. Not all Russian painters accepted and understood a similar manner of writing, however, later paintings of the cycle began to be considered the standard of the new Russian school, and Vereshchagin its pride."

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