Return from the War is a Realism style genre painting created by Russian artist Alexei Korzukhin in 1865. Korzukhin, who also did portraits and religious works such as icons and depictions of the Four Fathers of the Church, was born into a family of gold prospectors and had worked in a local railway factory and mint before pursuing his passion for art. The painting depicts soldiers returning home from war, exhausted and worn out after what appears to have been a long journey.
The use of dark colors adds to the somber mood while the intricate details on their attire suggests that they were not high-ranking officials but rather common soldiers who had played their part in protecting their country. Korzukhin’s work “Return from the Fair,” which he painted three years later in oil on canvas, shares similarities with “Return from the War.”
Both paintings are genre paintings that depict scenes of people’s life. While “Return from the Fair” captures moments of leisure where people socialize and communicate with one another, “Return from the War” portrays serious themes like sacrifice, duty, and patriotism. In summary, “Return from War,” an important example of Korzukhin’s contribution to Realism style genre painting depicts soldiers returning home tired with few resources as evidenced by their frayed clothes. It is similar to another work by Korzukhin titled Return From The Fair which both capture ordinary people’s daily life experiences.”