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Battle of Germany

Paul Nash1944

Imperial War Museums

Imperial War Museums

This work was commissioned by the WAAC in 1944 and was originally intended to depict a flying bomb. In a letter to Clare Neilson on 5 September 1944, Nash described that 'K. Clark wanted me to do a sequel to 'Battle of Britain' on the flying bomb but it has fallen through I think. I did not find any point of departure, no bomb site as it were to launch into a composition. Besides I can think of nothing but my invasion painting which is now in its critical stage.' The 'invasion painting' is probably 'Battle of Germany' which was delivered to the WAAC in September 1944.Nash wrote a text to accompany the painting: '...The moment of the picture is when the city, lying under the uncertain light of the moon, awaits the blow at its heart. In the background, a gigantic column of smoke arises from the recent destruction of an outlying factory which is still fiercely burning. These two objects pillar and moon seem to threaten the city no less than the flights of bombers even now towering in the red sky. The moon's illumination reveals the form of the city but with the smoke pillar's increasing height and width, throws also its largening shadow nearer and nearer. In contrast to the suspense of the waiting city under the quiet though baleful moon, the other half of the picture shows the opening of the bombardment. The entire area of sky and background and part of the middle distance are violently agitated. Here forms are used quite arbitrarily and colours by a kind of chromatic percussion with one purpose, to suggest explosion and detonation. In the central foreground the group of floating discs descending may be a part of a flight of paratroops or the crews of aircraft forced to bale out.'Kenneth Clark, Chairman of the WAAC, reacted positively to the painting but was concerned at the complexity of its meaning.

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Details

  • Title: Battle of Germany
  • Creator: Nash, Paul
  • Date Created: 1944
  • Location: Germany
  • Physical Dimensions: w1828 x h1219 mm (unframed)
  • Provenance: © IWM (Art.IWM ART LD 4526)
  • Type: painting
  • External Link: Imperial War Museum website
  • Medium: oil

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