The Art of the First World War

A Lecture or Study Day to Commemorate the 100th Anniversary of 1914

The First World War has usually been seen through the eyes of English poets. Yet, arguably, it had an even greater effect on visual artists both in affirming the formal experiments of the avant-garde and in providing new subjects for traditional painters.

The talk will explain how ’Vorticists’ such as Paul Nash and C.R. Nevinson found in the devastated landscape of the trenches echoes of the mechanistic imagery that they had developed before 1914. It will then explore how society portraitists such as John Lavery and landscape artists such as William Nicholson were influenced by their direct experience of the first air-raids, bomb shelters and the war at sea.

The talk is offered either as a single hour-long lecture or as part of a study day. A second talk could address the Second World War and would offer a fascinating comparison to the earlier conflict through the latter’s focus on propaganda and the home front.

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