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Defense of Moscow from Khan Tokhtamysh. 64.5 x 92 cm
Creating the art chronicle of old, pre-Petrine Moscow, Apollinariy Mikhailovich Vasnetsov could not get around one of the most tragic episodes of its history - the defense of the capital from the troops of Khan Tokhtamysh. By carefully studying old documents, maps, objects found during archaeological excavations, the artist was able to recreate a reliable picture of one of those days.
Only two years have passed since the victory of the Russian squads on the Kulikovo field, but the troops of the Golden Horde are again standing under the high strong walls of the Moscow Kremlin. The city could withstand the siege, because the newly built stone Kremlin was considered impregnable. Taking advantage of the absence of Dmitry Donskoy, feuds begin in the capital.
And on an August summer day, a veche gathers in the Cathedral Square. On a small elevation, the voivode, raising his sword, calls for battle with the enemy. Many residents support him: a gray-bearded man puts on chain mail on the left, and young people pick up bows and crossbows for themselves next to him. Nearby is a cart with weapons - all citizens can choose their swords, hornets and shields. Masters, bending over the first guns, called "mattresses", introduce the soldiers to them. Armed warriors carefully look around the square.
But not everyone wants to protect the city. On the right, on the chests and bags sits a boyar family, ready to leave the city. Near the church wall, those leaving are trying to make their way through the crowd on carts filled to the top with belongings. Hurrying along the wooden picket fence to the gates of the townspeople, throwing bags of belongings behind them and leading small children by the hand.
And on the powerful walls, everything is ready for defense - the warriors took their places, throwing machines stand ready.
People make noise and worry, but a magnificent white stone cathedral with high arched windows rises solemnly in the center of the square - a symbol of Russia.
The brown and gray colors prevailing in the picture fill with a sense of anxiety and impending disaster, but the radiance of the white walls, looking towards the high sky, fills with hope and faith that Russia, having passed through all the trials, will become a great power.