Scenes of War

War has been a part of humankind since the beginning of our existence. So it is only natural for artists of various time periods to capture the images of war and battle in order to glorify or demonize these large scale acts of violence. Many times these works of art are graphic in nature and are often times painted to commemorate and/or record a particular historical battle or war. Artist's portrayals of war are well known to inspire deep emotions and strong feelings to people throughout the world, and of all different time periods. This gallery will focus on these scenes of war starting from Ancient Greece all the way until World War II.      

This ceramic krater from Ancient Greece most likely depicts the battle between Achilles and Hector in the Trojan War while a goddess intervenes mid-battle. The Trojan war was the largest war of its time and is one of the most well known wars from Classic Antiquity, and it has inspired thousands of works dedicated to it. This work in particular I have chosen to include in this gallery for this battle between Hector and Achilles is a legendary battle which has been told over and over again throughout thousands of years
This work by Paolo Uccello is considered one of the most famous paintings of war ever. It's subject focuses on a pivotal moment of the Battle of San Romano in which the Sienese commander , Bernardino della Ciarda is tossed of his horse by a Florentine soldier. It's somewhat abstract colors give the work a special look and it's inclusion of two horses dying front in center give the painting a gloomy feeling, yet also triumphic for it shows the price paid by the Florentines to defend their land.
Nicolas Poussin's masterpiece is a representation of the historical Jewish revolt against the Roman empire. It's range and space combined with it's chaotic scene, and yet somewhat rigid structure of the painting, inspires awe within the onlooker. I've decided to include this work within this gallery is for it's chaotic view of war and its inclusion of Emperor Titus who is an extremely well known figure throughout history.
One of mastermind Peter Paul Rubens' most well known works doesn't illustrate any actual historical battle, or even an actual battle at all. It depicts another stage of war, the ever so important forging of weapons. It's only two figures are the gods Mars and Venus after Mars has just returned from war. Venus, being the goddess of love, symbolizes how love may stop war, yet the looming fires of war show how war may never truly be stopped. It is this original depiction of war that stands out above other visuals of war.
George Washington, the legendary commander of the United States during the Revolutionary War is front and center in this work by Charles Willson Peale. The famed Commander stands upright and proud as deep in the background a war rumbles on. Directly behind him is shown a wounded soldier being cared for. This work is great for it shows how war can make men into heroic figures and it glorifies the act of war in general.
This painting by Edouard Monet, one of the most renowned Impressionist, shows a naval battle off the coast of France between two U.S. warships during the Civil War. The dominant blues of the work give the work a depressing feeling as ships get bombed in the background. War of the seas has been important in almost every war in known to man and this painting focuses on the less fabulous, yet extremely important aspect of war.
This painting by Nevinson shows the bodies of two dead British soldiers on the western front of World War I. It's dark browns and greens dominate the work and help to illuminate the not-so-glorious aspect of war, death. The artist's goal here is not to depict a historical battle or to glorify the war, but rather show the dark side of war. He wants to show the death and wretchedness of war which he captures almost flawlessly.
In the most gruesome work of this gallery, Otto Dix's polyptych seeks only to horrify the onlooker with depictions of death and gore that encompass the entirety of the work. Another representation of World War I, this artist is attempting to show the public what war truly looks like. Bloody, gory, sickening, and dreadful. It's focus on the horrendous side of war brings only negative thoughts of war, unlike the glorified thoughts that earlier works inspired.
Wars do not include only soldiers and weapons, but civilians and ordinary people as well. This work by Alan Moore captures just how World War II affected Jewish civilians who were kept in concentration camps. Dead, sickly bodies are piled up all along the work as the main focus of the work, a blind, starving man stands with the help of a crutch. One gets a sense of complete despair and destruction when looking upon this work which shows just how horrible the effects of war are on all people.
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This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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