He brought back from his travels numerous sketches of landscapes, architectural ensembles, and representatives of the Central Asian peoples — Kirghiz, Turkmens and Uzbeks. These sketches are so accurately finished in point of artistic detail that they were held to be small pictures in their own right.
One of the finest sketches in the “Turkestan Cycle’ (1871—1872) is “The Kirghiz Kibitkas on the River Chu”. Like the other works of this period, this sketch is notable for its beautiful decorative combination of large patches of colour and of meticulous attention to detail. Nature and man’s life, which is fused with it, are presented here as a hymn to the natural harmony of existence.
Vereshchagin’s significance as a painter is that he resolutely broke with the hackneyed tradition of battle painting, depicted war in all its harsh reality, told the unvarnished truth about it and found his chief heroes in the rank-and-file.
Among the pictures of his Central Asian series, painted in 1871—73, his famous “Apotheosis of War” merits special attention.
Originally the picture was known as the “Apotheosis of Tamerlane” (renowned Central Asian conqueror of the 14th century). This explains why the pyramid of skulls is depicted against a background of sun scorched sand and ruins of an ancient city.
architectural ensembles — архитектурные ансамбли
the “Turkestan Cycle” — из цикла военных картон о Туркестане
decorative — декоративный
meticulous — дотошный; педантичный; тщательный; скрупулёзный
hackneyed — банальный, избитый, тривиальный
harsh reality — жестокая реальность
unvarnished truth — простая (неприкрашенная) правда
the rank-and-file — рядовые
Apotheosis of War — “Апофеоз войны” (назв. картины)
against the background — на фоне