Allen, Christopher: Artists of the Great War: the pity and the propaganda

Christopher Allen

Artists of the Great War: the pity and the propaganda‘, The Australian, 18 March 2017

A review of a current exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (closes in June).

We have not ceased to be fascinated by war … : it continues to be the subject of countless films, and most recent mass-market productions have pursued ever more violent and extreme special effects in order to appeal to an audience desensitised by excessive stimulation.

This small exhibition ‘illustrates the full range of the involvement of artists in the process of war, from encouraging participation to documenting life at the front, evoking mourning and commemoration, and even providing the precise anatomical imagery required for reconstructive surgery’. Notable are works by Norman Lindsay, Will Dyson, Hilda Rix Nicholas, George Lambert, Rupert Bunny, John Longstaff, and Daryl Lindsay.

See also Margaret Hutchison’s encyclopedia entry on Australian war art; Dr Hutchison has a book forthcoming on this subject. Allen’s review also makes some salient points on the effect of violent video games. On this, see also Andrew Yip.


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