Vasily Vereshchagin

A Rich Kirghiz Huntsman With A Falcon

Russian artist, soldier and political controversialist Vasily Vereshchagin (1842–1904), was a moral chronicler of Russian military history. Outfitted with an easel and pistol Vereshchagin used his artwork to protest against the aggressive advances made by Imperial Russia towards its eastern and southern neighbors during the nineteenth century. He circled half of the world’s continents and participated in two wars. He traveled not for the sake of recreation or entertainment but spent the majority of his career painting war scenes, many so grotesque that the public rejected them. His battle canvases with pacifist subtexts and drawings from exotic countries served as the artist’s main topics. For more than ten years Vereshchagin lived outside of Russia in Munich and Paris, with extended visits to New York, Tokyo and Istanbul. He was hugely successful not only in Russia but throughout Europe and is considered one of the greatest master painters of the style of Orientalism. Vereshchagin won worldwide fame taking part in more than thirty solo exhibitions in the last decade of his life, often exhibiting in the most fashionable salons. In addition to his paintings he created documentary ethnographic drawings and was the author of a number of literary works.