This trend of making art about the tragedies of war really took off around the time of the World Wars. Prior to these wars, war heroes were often painted to look like powerful and hopeful figures. These grand paintings overshadowed what really happened in the wars and drew people’s attention away from the real conflict. The first article mentions the fact that “. . .many artists focused on war at the behest of their governments or rulers. They were commissioned to show war’s achievements, but often, their eye caught something different” (page 3). Commissioned war paintings inevitably died down, which is likely why artists branched out and focused more on the bad parts of war rather than the ‘good’ parts of war. The second article discusses how as warfare evolved, so did modern art. The article uses an example from sculptor Jacob Epstein who completely changed his sculpture to address a new issue. Curator Paul Moorhouse said that “His art responds to his experience of war” (page 1) which is different for every artist who makes art about war. Another example of an artist is Kaethe Kollwitz, who focuses on the mourning aspect of war because she lost her son to the war. Her work was much more dramatic and somber because of her specific feelings and attitude towards war.
I’m glad that artists are bringing light to something that many people like to shut out of their minds. War is an uncomfortably common thing in the world. Most people who are not immediately affected by it tend to forget that it’s even happening. By making work centered around this conflict, it makes people think more about why we are fighting in the first place. I don’t think anyone necessarily likes war but we tend to normalize it. Making people uncomfortable in this situation is a good thing. The world needs to realize that we should not celebrate war, normalize war, or forget about war. Artists are using their platforms and their work to make a well-needed statement about the state of the world. This is something that most other people are too afraid to do.