The painting depicts a WWI action where Imperial Russian cavalry is attacking a German (Austrian?) artillery unit. The painting was in poor condition, specked, with frayed border, dog-eared corners, some small parts missing, abrasion marks, colors faded, and with a generally dull appearance. It seems to never have been framed.
The painting was scanned with 5 separate scans, the parts then joined together (manually), and retouched & optimized. The tonal dynamic range and color saturation were increased to overcome the dullness due to surface contamination. With this treatment, the picture became luminous and literally came to life!
There is some conjectures as to the type of carbine the Germans (Austrians?) are using. Although the M98 Mauser was the standard long arm of the Germans many years before WWI, the '88 Commission Rifle' as well as the M71/84 Mauser, Cal. 11.15x60Rmm (43), were also being used. Both of these were offered in the carbine version, with full-length Mannlicher stock. I don't believe that the M98 Mauser was made in the sort of carbine configuration depicted.
The M88 Commission Rifle has a magazine well that projects below the stock - and I don't see this in the painting. What is depicted looks very much like the M71/84 carbine which has a more massive cross-section than the M88, and an unmistakably prominent bolt handle. Incidentally, the M71/84 was the first successful bolt action military repeater, was made in huge quantities and sold the world over. It was being used in WWI, even after having become obsolete some 30 years before.
The standards on the lances, and the cavalry unit itself have been identified. We are indebted to B.LeM. for the information below.
The painting of the attack of Russian cavalry against Prussian artillery identifies the Russian regiment as that of the Don Cossacks. In actuality, if I am not mistaken, the regiment is actually that of the Life Guard Horse Regiment. Please note that the lance pennants are for a cuirassier regiment not light cavalry. I simply thought that this may be of interest to you.
With my regards,
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