Great War Artists (03:38)
In this film, Eddie Redmayne retraces the footsteps of World War I painters to Flanders battlefields and meets contemporary war artists. He discusses his interest in art around the turn of the 20th century and dons an officer's uniform.
Artists Rifles (03:12)
Denis Dighton pioneered British war art in the early 19th century. A regiment of artists and poets formed in 1859; participants included Millais. Redmayne discusses Paul Nash's "We Are Making a New World," depicting the effect of war on nature.
Machine Age Optimism (01:59)
Redmayne believes that art best captures the horrors of World War I. The first works celebrated mechanized warfare, demonstrated in Christopher Nevinson's bold forms.
Sanctuary Wood Museum (02:39)
Many war artists were injured at the front. Nash described landscape destruction in a letter home. Redmayne visits the last remaining trenches at Hill 62 in Flanders, where 250,000 men died.
Trench Art (02:52)
Eric Kennington's "The Kensingtons at Laventie" depicts exhausted soldiers after an engagement. Amateur artists produced works such as shell shrines and watercolor postcards.
Alternative Expressive Outlets (02:48)
War artists were also innovators, and helped engineers design camouflaged lookouts. Comics used humor to lighten the mood. Peep shows displayed trench combat images, responding to domestic demand for front line pictures.
Tunnel Warfare (02:36)
Allied miners dug beneath No Man's Land to explode German trenches. View David Bomberg's "Study for Sappers at Work" using geometric shapes. He lost interest in Machine Age aesthetics after his brother died; government patrons criticized his futuristic style.
Capturing the Battlefield (03:54)
Many war artists were fighting soldiers and sent sketches back to England to be completed as paintings. Redmayne discusses chaos in Nash's "The Mule Track." View sketches by German war artist Erwin Aichele and by Adolf Hitler.
Dazzle Painting (02:29)
British war artists helped camouflage North Sea ships from German U-boats. Bright patterns "confused" the enemy, reduced ships sunk by two thirds, and won avant-garde painters some respect.
Government Scrutiny (03:19)
War artists were instructed to commemorate British military effort and sacrifice. As Nevinson's works became more naturalistic, officials censored his work for portraying soldiers badly and the battlefield too realistically. View "Paths of Glory" depicting decomposing bodies.
Artistic War Memorial Project (03:04)
In 1918, the British government commissioned memorial paintings. View Percy Wyndham-Lewis' "A Battery Shelled" and Stanley Spencer's "Travoys Arriving with Wounded."
Redmayne discusses John Singer Sargent's memorial painting depicting soldiers suffering from mustard gas. Hear Sargent's description of a visit to the front.
"Over the Top" (02:10)
Paul Nash's younger brother John completed a work for the war memorial commission. He portrayed his regiment attacking from the trenches; 12 of 80 Artist's Rifles men survived. Hear Paul's description of natural beauty amidst combat horrors.
Battle of the Somme Wounds (02:08)
Shelling was responsible for three quarters of World War I casualties. At the Royal College of Surgeons, Henry Tonks drew clinical illustrations of soldiers with face wounds and documented Harold Gillies' pioneering plastic surgery.
Contemporary War Art (02:51)
Bosnia War artist Peter Howson discusses his interest in conflict and mixes colors used by Nash. His 1994 rape painting "Croatian and Muslim" was censored by the Imperial War Museum. His experiences caused him to suffer nervous breakdowns.
Front Line Stories (03:29)
Contemporary war artists can't fight or carry weapons. Graeme Lothian recalls being wounded in Afghanistan, and George Butler reflects on sketching refugees in Syria.
War Ramifications (03:15)
Julia Midgley sketches veteran and triple amputee Andy Reid, and discusses her intentions as a reportage artist. Reid describes the mine that cost him his limbs.
War Art Legacy (02:41)
Howson says the point of war art is to move people to consider humanity. Redmayne reflects on lessons from World War I and contemporary war artists. View a montage of Great War paintings.
Credits: War Art With Eddie Redmayne (01:01)
Credits: War Art With Eddie Redmayne
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