World War I Art Assignment
Name: Otto Dix
Nationality of painter: German
Title of work: Sturmtruppe Geht Unter Gaf Bor
Date of work: 1924
I selected this painting to illustrate the transformation of young innocent German boys into monstrous killing machines, crawling in the midst of their own poison like alligators, except not in a swamp but in the killing fields called no mans land.
Many of the German soldiers were young men, vibrant and full of vigor, ready to defend their country but not ready to endure the brutal and inhumane aspects of war. To me, the gas masks served dual purposes; they protected the young soldiers from the poisonous gas they unleashed on their enemies while also masquerading their true feelings about the harm they were causing. It was pure insanity watching these helmet-hooded soldiers with paled muzzled faces creep through no mans land throwing gas grenades and watching the enemy choke in a cloud of poison. It was very difficult to speak with gas masks, so many soldiers were left alone with only the lasting thoughts that would torment their every dream.
This painting illuminates class discussions about the art of brainwashing the unsuspecting to perform duties and tasks outside the realm of basic human morals, values and compassion and tasks outside of what they may have expected as part of being patriotic and brave.
Name: William Orpen
Nationality of painter: British
Title of work: To The Unknown British Soldier
Date of work: 1922-7
What drew me to these paintings was the idea that the original painting was in direct contrast to the revised version. The second version was revised to give off a more noble sentiment. The loss of a fallen countryman symbolizing a grandeur departure into the afterlife. The original version was more of a haunting memory of what transpired during the war. The original painting has a coffin with a British flag draped over it, between two soldiers only covered with their...