Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Images Of War

I’ve been looking at art of the First World War. Nothing changes. The artists tried to show things as they really were and officialdom tried to stop them.

C.W.R Nevinson put a little picture of dead Tommies into an exhibition in 1918. He was told to remove it. Instead he covered it over with brown paper and wrote "censored" across it. The War Office issued him with a reprimand. Not only was it forbidden to show pictures of dead bodies, it was also forbidden to draw attention to the rules that forbade it.

Nerves were very raw. When Frank Brangwyn was commissioned to paint murals in Westminster Palace in the mid 20s one of his offerings was this boys own image of tanks going into action. It was rejected as too morbid.

William Orpen painted this picture as a comment on The Peace of Versailles. The nation refused to buy it, so he painted out the ghostly soldiers. Actually I think the second version is an improvement, but it's nice to know that with the process of time and the thinning of the paint the two spooks are now beginning to show through.
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