Vasily Vereshchagin was remembered in Russian culture as a famous historical painter who tried to preserve significant events, people’s lives, interesting facts in his paintings. The artist traveled a lot and a trip to India made an indelible impression on him.
Inspired by a trip to a country unfamiliar to the Russian people, he painted a series of paintings dedicated to India, depicting unforgettable landscapes, unusual architecture, and exotic attire of people.
But most of all, the public was stunned by the “Suppression of the Indian Uprising by the British” of 1884, which depicted a scene a few moments before the execution of the Indian rebels. The work is valuable in that, like any historical painterly work, it has the intention of the artist, and also reports important historical facts.
The informative work of Vasily Vereshchagin lies in the fact that the cruel treatment of the British with the colonial Hindus did take place in history, and the author himself witnessed these cruel reprisals against the rebels.
The author wants to show the strength of the spirit of the Indian people, the picture shows how the rebels are tied to the guns, while the British soldiers, in turn, are waiting for the team to shoot the rebels. Despite the hopelessness of the situation, the rebels, among whom there are elderly people are not broken and ready to accept death for their homeland with honor, 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 the 19th century colonialism, as the invader countries turned from colonists into slave owners, without giving any rights to the people living in the colonies. The picture constantly keeps the viewer in suspense, since it is not known whether the command will be given or whether the last shot will be made.