The Genius of British Art: The Art of War

With Remembrance Day just round the corner, journalist Jon Snow’s polemic on war art – part of Channel 4’s excellent Genius of British Art series – was a timely reminder of the devastation of conflict (Sunday, 7pm).

At the beginning of the 20th Century, British artist Richard Nevinson, who was inspired by the Italian Futurists, initially celebrated the machinery of war as a testament to man’s technical achievements – until the human cost is counted and we see the wretched faces of wounded and dying soldiers lying on the battle field and in make-shift hospitals.

Fast forward through a century of war to Steve McQueen’s Turner Prize-winning For Queen and Country (2007) which depicts service personnel killed in the most recent Iraq war on postage stamps. And it’s powerful stuff –  the images that are repeated over and over again, the young, smiling faces, their crisp uniforms. The theme of the programme is clear and stark – war ravages lives.

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