The monumental triptych “The War” ("Der Krieg") held by the Galerie Neue Meister in Dresden is one of the most eminent works of 20th-century German Realist painting. Otto Dix explored the theme of the First World War with an intensity paralleled by few other artists; his uncompromising depictions of wounded and dead soldiers have been etched into the collective visual memory.
Dix painted the triptych between 1929 and 1932, using it to reflect his experience of the conflict. During this time he constantly modified the composition and hence also the statement made by the work, whose form is reminiscent of an altarpiece. In the style of an Old Master, the four panels reveal the First World War, showing troops setting off at daybreak (left panel), the battlefield as a place of death (central panel), soldiers returning from the hell of battle (right panel) and fallen soldiers resting in peace in a dugout (predella).