This November, “Picturing Conflict: Art of the First World War” presents a selection of paintings, drawings, prints and photographs at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh. The exhibition includes artworks produced during and just after the First World War as well as images created years later to illustrate how the Great War was seen with hindsight.
As we at ILN are keenly aware, the First World War prompted a great outpouring of responses in literature, music and the visual arts. Artists, such as those who worked for The Illustrated London News and the Great Eight magazines, were major contributors. Often on the front lines themselves, they depicted the people, places and experiences of the war in official and unofficial capacities through formal commissions and more personal and private images. These artworks provide a valuable insight into the events of the war and its impact on those involved.
Picturing Conflict is drawn from the City Art Centre’s collection of Scottish art, supplemented by loans from the wider collections of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries. It runs from 8 November until 18 January 2015, Monday to Saturday, 10am-5pm.
Featured artists include D.Y. Cameron and John Lavery, whose reputations were already well-established at the outbreak of war. Younger and less experienced artists such as Eric Robertson and William Johnstone, whose careers developed out of their wartime experiences, will also be included. The work of several unknown artists is also displayed, giving a voice to artistic responses from outside the established art world.
This is a fascinating exhibition that emphasises the importance of art as a record of the First World War, the battles that took place and the men who died on the muddy fields of Belgium, France and other battlefields across the globe.