Vasily Vasilyevich Vereshchagin (1842-1904) Before entering Moscow (from the series Napoleon in Russia. 1812)
signed in pencil with initials in Cyrilic ‘B’ [V] (lower right), and inscirbed ‘3/4’ (along the lower edge), extensively inscribed in Cyrillic ‘L Vereshagina’ [Lidiya Vereshagina, wife of the artist] and dated ‘24/I’ (on the reverse) pencil on paper 24.5 x 19.5 cm executed circa 1891-1892 Provenance: Artist’s family (inscription of Lidiya Vereshagina on the reverse) Private collection, France Preparatory sketch of Napoleon’s figure for the painting ‘Before entering Moscow. Waiting for the Deputation ofBoyars’, in the collection of the Museum of the Patriotic War of 1812. After his victory at the Battle of Borodino, Napoleon waits on Poklonnaya Hill for the Deputation to bring him the keys to the city. However, disappointment awaits the Emperor when he discovers that Moscow is empty. Vasily Vasilievich Vereshchagin (1842-1904) conceived a series of pictures of the Patriotic War in Paris in 1887. The artist then moved to Russia, to the village of Nizhnie Kotly near Moscow, and continued working on the series. Vereshchagin studied the personality of Napoleon and history. This is how Vereshchagin conveyed the capture of Moscow - through the eyes of the invader, which can also be reflected in the series’ titles. Vereshchagin did not manage to complete this cycle dedicated to the War of 1812: On 31 March 1904, Vereshchagin died in the explosion of the battleship Petropavlovsk near Port Arthur.