Paul Nash

Paul Nash The Battle of Britain oil on canvas 121.9 x 182.8 cm 1941

Paul Nash(1889-1946) was a British painter, surrealist and war artist. During WW1 he was hired by the War Propaganda Bureau to "promote British interests" by painting scenes of the war. He worked from sketches he had completed before being sent home with a broken rib after falling into a trench. He was again hired to paint war scenes during WWII, this time by the Orwellian sounding Ministry of Information.

Although at first glance the painting "The Battle of Britain" has a surrealistic aspect, it is a clear depiction of an aerial battle between England and Germany. The sight is both terrible and beautiful.

From a letter Nash wrote to his wife from the front we can see that his intentions were not to glorify the war:  'It is unspeakable, godless, hopeless. I am no longer an artist interested and curious, I am a messenger who will bring back word from the men who are fighting to those who want the war to go on forever. Feeble, inarticulate, will be my message, but it will have a bitter truth, and may it burn their lousy souls.’ 

Thanks to Roger Brown for sending in this image. 

In honor of Elizabeth Wilson's passionate interest in the subject of changeable skies, for the rest of September we'll be looking at landscape paintings with a strong emphasis on the heavens. If you have an image of a painting, drawing or photograph with a focus on the sky (not your own work please) and a few thoughts you'd like to share, please email me and I'll set up a post for you.

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