Wars are never easy things to talk about, leave alone depict. They happen to be the hideous celebration of everything that's wrong with human nature. However desolate times need to be documented for they provide us great lessons.
War Paintings act as a reminder of those very desolate times, which we seem to be growing increasingly complacent about.
Guernica: Picasso's Famous War Painting
Picasso's immortal painting was, a reaction against the Nazi German bombing of Guernica, Spain on April 26, 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. The air raid destroyed the city, killing an estimated 1600 people and injuring many more.
The huge mural was produced under a commission by the Spanish Republican government to decorate the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris International Exposition(the 1937 World's Fair in Paris).
Picasso's immortal words while painting this masterpiece were:
“The Spanish struggle is the fight of reaction against the people, against freedom. My whole life as an artist has been nothing more than a continuous struggle against reaction and the death of art. How could anybody think for a moment that I could be in agreement with reaction and death? ... In the panel on which I am working, which I shall call Guernica, and in all my recent works of art, I clearly express my abhorrence of the military caste which has sunk Spain in an ocean of pain and death.”
Pidgeon's War Paintings
William E. Pidgeon was a war correspondent in the Australian Army during World War II. His War Paintings reflect his ability to record, with insight and intimacy, the everyday life of soldiers and airmen behind the lines. He had the special ability to depict the human face of an inhuman war. His war paintings were not so much about bombings and killings as much as they were about soldiers and their everyday life. The threat of the unavoidable was obviously there in the form of tanks and fighter planes but they are always covert.