depictions of the military in paintings and drawings - Nolan Cavan

This gallery contains paintings and drawings of the many aspects of military life. I personally chose to avoid portraiture in favor of paintings focusing on events instead of individual greatness. Most of these paintings will revolve around the world wars but there are a few excursions into other eras such as the Roman one.

This painting is a unique blend of impressionism and a high attention to realistic detail. Breitner paid great attention to recreating realistic movement especially in the horses feet. The bodies of the men and horses are painted slightly out of focus thus further imposing the impression of a charging stampede of calvary heading straight at the viewer.
This claustrophobic scene is one of a submarine gun crew in WW2. The cramped space is further emphasized by the left and right edges being cut off from view suggesting a porthole view. The cramped nature of the painting is then made ironic as the men are working on a gun with a firing range of 15 miles.
This ghastly green painting represents the aftermath of a mustard gas attack. Blind soldiers are lead to the medical tent to treat their burns. The only deviation from the green color scheme comes in the form of symbols of healing, the bandages over their eyes, the tents in the background symbolizing a return to normality, and the soccer players in the background simply trying to escape the harshness of war.
This painting is divided into to distinct halves. On the left is the trench symbolizing safety, on the right the dangers of open combat. In the painting however there are no soldiers shown cowering in the trench for safety, and all bodies shown lying in the trench are shown face down having been shot upon exit.
This painting depicts wounded arriving by mule drawn stretchers to a dressing station. Spencer was originally commissioned to paint a depiction featuring religious symbolism at the forefront, but instead chose to capture the event itself as a sense of divine presence. Spencer tried to portray the wounded as individual Christ's on a cross receiving their own individual resurrection through the efforts of the surgeons.
Another impressionist style piece drawn using pastels, depicts a soldier receiving a saline infusion. Once again there is actually great attention to detail such as the tightness of the soldiers upper torso and the mute concern of the surgeons trying to save his life. The blurriness of the image however forces the viewer at least visually to experience the same amount of pain the soldier is going through.
Vertical lines are a prominent feature of this depiction of a Roman soldier holding his post during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Pompeii. The soldier is shown standing tall besides the strength of Pompeii's walls despite the obvious danger, while civilians in the background are shown horizontal as they succumb to their fears.
This painting depicts Emperor Titus attempting to prevent his army from sacking Jerusalem's temple. A stark contrast to the other images in this gallery as it's willing to present the military in a negative light. Today ethics plays an immense role in military doctrine to prevent not only the mistakes of the distant past such as this one but also the mistakes of the recent past such as the tragedy at Haditha.
My single departure from portraiture this watercolor drawing depicts Major General Alec Gatehouse siting besides one of the tanks he commands, but is presented in an unusual way. Instead of presenting Gatehouse in a dramatic pose like most portraits the focus here is on his communication between his staff officers as they plan their next tactical decision.
One of the benefits of active service is the ability for servicemen and women to earn a trade. This painting is focused on exactly that. Deliberately set against a black background only the essential elements to portray this paintings theme are shown, the soldiers former uniform set to the side, the many books he read in the service to prepare him for his new job, and the soldier himself hard at work.
Credits: All media
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