This work celebrates the achievements of the Russian army during the crossing of the Balkans, the last obstacle on the march towards Constantinople, in the extremely harsh conditions of December 1887. To the left, a soldier helps his horse climb a steep slope and in the centre another cossack rider begins his descent. Both elements formed independent compositions titled 'Horseman in the Balkans' and 'Crossing the Balkans: Soldier on his Horse'. Originally intended as a mantel clock, the composition of the sculpture is arched to accommodate the clock. A variant of this composition, with the mountain in white marble to simulate snow, sold, Sotheby's London, 25 October 1996.
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