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Vasily Vereshchagin was remembered in Russian culture as a famous historical painter who tried to preserve significant events, people's life, and interesting facts in his paintings. The artist traveled a lot and the trip to India made an indelible impression on him.
Inspired by a trip to a country unfamiliar to a Russian person, he painted a number of paintings on India, which depicted unforgettable landscapes, unusual architecture, and exotic robes of people.
But most of all, the public was stunned by the painting “The Suppression of the Indian Rebellion by the British” of 1884, which depicts a scene a few moments before the execution of the Indian rebels. The work is valuable in that, like any historical pictorial work, it has the intention of the artist, and also reports important historical facts.
The informational content of Vasily Vereshchagin’s work is that the British cruel treatment of colonial Indians did take place in history, and the author himself witnessed these cruel reprisals against the rebels.
The author wants to show the strength of spirit of the Indian people, the picture shows how the rebels are tied to cannons, while the English soldiers, in turn, are waiting for the command to shoot the rebels. Despite the hopelessness of the situation, the rebels, among whom there are older people are not broken and are ready to accept death with honor for their homeland, they are not ashamed and not afraid to die, because they fought for the freedom of their children, their people, their homeland.
The artist also touches on the topic of colonialism of the 19th century, since the invader countries turned from colonists into slaveholders, without giving any rights to the people who live in the colonies. The picture constantly keeps the viewer in suspense, since it is not known whether the command will be given and whether the last shot will be fired.