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Influence Of Ww1 On The Artwork Of Early 20th Century

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On August 1st 1914, Germany declared war on Russia, and on the 3rd, declared war on France. Starting at the top of the previous page the first piece of artwork I chose to review is Max Beckmann's piece Der Kriegsausbruch (Declaration of War), created in 1914 as the declarations of war had just been announced. This is a drawing depicting the reaction of passers-by in Berlin to the news of war being declared. I chose this piece specifically because of the "sketchy" style of drawing. I find that the looseness of his lines give the piece a feeling of anxiousness or even stress that I imagine many of the citizens depicted in the piece were feeling at the time.

The second piece I chose was created by artist, Alfred Kubin, entitled Die Kriegsfackel (The Torch of War). I chose this piece for several reasons; first of all I find the feeling of it to be somewhat of a stark contrast to the feeling of Beckmann's piece. Kubin was considered a major symbolist artist, who, "Ð'...had lost faith in a Ð''fresh and joyous war' or in a quick victory."(art-www1.com) Unlike the previous piece the feeling of this piece has nothing to do with excitement or the anxious energetic feeling that Beckmann's piece has. To me, this piece is an example of the influence the war had after the "newness" had worn off. It was Kubin's attempt and denouncing human cruelty mixed with his own growing cynicism towards the war. I find that the sketched lines in this piece do not communicate excitement to me as much as a dark morbid feeling. It is obvious to me that Kubin was attempting to depict the horrors of war in his own symbolist style of art.

The next two pieces (starting from left to right) are Selbstbildnis als Soldat (Self-Portrait as a Soldier) and Selbstbildnis mit Artillerie-Helm (Self-Portrait Wearing a Gunner's Helmet) created by Otto Dix in 1914. I chose these pieces because of their obvious relation to each other but also because of the contrast between them. Starting with the first, I find the vibrant white and red colors along with the short almost spasmodic brush strokes communicate to me a feeling of almost blood lust. Once again it seems to communicate a sort of intense, focused excitement. This is strongly contrasted by the second piece that is dominated by the dark blacks and more muted reds. Even the brush strokes appear to be slightly longer giving the piece an almost melancholy feel. From my own point of view it seems as if the first was painted in anticipation of going to war, while the second was painted after experiencing the violent death and horror of war.

The last piece I chose, Explosion, by C.R.W. Nevinson in 1916 seems to relate in feeling to some of

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