Vasily Petrovich Vereshchagin’s canvas “The Siege of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra,” written in 1891, depicts one of the most bitter periods in the history of our Motherland. It makes no sense to talk about the events that took place at that time, called “Vague”. The painting depicts an episode of the storming of the monastery, although the viewer does not see the battle scenes. Quite the contrary. In the foreground, in front of the audience, there appear alarmed, suffering, scared, but at the same time inspired faces of people who are ready to die, but not to betray the Motherland and faith.
In fact, the artist has managed to express the meaning of what is happening, using not quite familiar symbols. The unity of the people and the clergy in the mournful hour in the person of the priest carrying the blessing and at the same time the fighting spirit of the laurel defenders who listened attentively to the instructions of the elder and are ready to defend their land, all this is carried by the artist a little to the background of the picture. Compositionally, these elements are located in the left and right parts of the canvas.
The central part of the composition, which does not even immediately strike the eye against the background of the mass of the Orthodox church, is a group of laurel defenders carrying a wounded comrade. Each of these characters represents a different part of society at the time. It was with this combination that the artist wanted to show the unity of all, as it is now accepted to say “social groups”, against the enemy. If you want, the union of all Russian people!
At the same time, the grief of the central composition does not reduce the positive of the picture. Despite the general tribulation, it is filled with a multitude of symbols hinting at the coming positive changes. At the bottom of the picture, in its very center, the artist depicted an abandoned weapon, indicating that the war was imposed from the outside. At the same time, the bottom left corner of the picture depicts a small, playing child, as a symbol of future peaceful life.
The canvas is written in bright colors, which again speaks of the positive outcome of the grueling siege of laurels. The spirituality of the Russian people, its unification in a difficult moment and a bright, albeit cloudy sky of the Motherland – these are the main thoughts that Vasily Petrovich Vasnetsov wanted to convey to the viewer.