The painting had finished the Vereshagin’s large-scale Balkan series comprising about 30 canvases that were created in Paris in 1878-1879 on the base of studies and original artefacts brought from Bulgaria. In 1877-1878 Russia took part in the war against the Turks for the liberation of Bulgarians from the Ottoman Rule. While Vereshagin was working at the painting he came twice to the place of military actions to Shipka and in the vicinity of Plevna.
The Turks were defeated at Sheinovo on 9th January 1878. The painting belonging to the Russian Museum is the author’s copy. The painting highlights dramatic tension of the event even more, the artist showed that the victory over the enemy was purchased too dearly. In the foreground there are the frozen bodies of died Russian soldiers carpeting the snowy field. The general Mikhail Skobelev is depicted on the left at the foot of the mountain range, he rides round the lines of Russian soldiers and congratulates them on the victory. The artist represented himself in the retinue of the general Skobelev, near the standard bearer, in a white coat. The soldiers meet him with loud hurray and throw their hats up.