Swertschkoff W. Members of People’s volunteer corps. 1850-th
Wladimir von Swertschkoff
Members of People’s volunteer corps
Oil on canvas. 121 x 178 cm
The Russian Museum
Swertschkoff made a number of sketches of battle scenes that he witnesses during the Crimean War, specifically the campaign of 1854 in the Baltic Sea (Russian seamen were fighting with the English and French squadron shelling Finnish towns). Several paintings and portraits of the participants of the events were created based upon these sketches. In April of 1855 an album of lithographs “Sketches of the War in Finland in 1854” created from Swertschkoff’s drawings was published in St.Petersburg. It included three battle scenes and a map of the area, three portraits of commanders, as well as a portrait of a sniper, Finish peasant, Mats Kankonen. In the former Imperial and nowadays Presidential palace in Helsinki there is a portrait of Kankonen painted by Swertschkoff. Most probably the painting “Members of People’s volunteer corps” relates to the same period. It used to be kept in the collection of Gatchina palace and was received by the Russian Museum in 1929. This work, marked by the features of Romanticism, shows the mastery of a professional artist of battle scenes who had graduated from the studio of the professor Bogdan (Gottfried) Willewalde a well-known master of painting on subject of war.