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A Terrible Beauty

£12.99 Out Of Stock

Product description

Our view of the Great War, despite recent revisionism, remains the one
that started to appear in the late 1920s: boys led by donkeys; a
slaughter that wasted a nation's youth; and where all were destroyed,
even those who had escaped it shells, as Erich Maria Remarque said. The
art of the war is responsible for this: poetry, drama, novels, film and
the visual arts have all played their part in the creation of this
collective memory.

That 'terrible beauty' should result from such horror has always been
the great paradox of the First World War. Though Paul Gough says that
'Britain did not produce much effective anti-war painting' the overall
impact is overwhelmingly anti-war (there are only a few great anti-war
films - J'Accuse, All Quiet on the Western Front, La Grand Illusion and
Paths of Glory - but these are the ones that are regarded as being close
to the truth). And it is all the more remarkable that, for the visual
arts, it should result from state patronage, in a brutal war, when
bloody conflict nurtured the creative arts.

A Terrible Beauty is a scholarly book that wears its learning lightly;
well illustrated, allowing us to look at as well as read about the
paintings; and mercifully free of the artspeak that denies to most today
an understanding of the world of art. The key artists are covered:
William Orpen, Paul Nash and his brother John; Muirhead Bone and Charles
Nevinson; Wyndham Lewis and Stanley Spencer. Gough also gives us some of
those less well-known: Paul Maze, Adrian Hill and Sydney Jones.

Artists were involved from the start, some welcoming, briefly, the
cleansing that would result in a defeat of abstraction as well as
Germany. They were free to paint what they saw, though after 1917 were
not allowed to portray the dead (they could do so again after the
Armistice) and even modernism was quietly encouraged. But they had to
put up with appalling conditions even though they were excused the
privations of the battlefield; were seen as spies by some; had trouble
keeping paper dry; and, as the war went on, had to face increasing
censorship - Nevinson exhibited his great work Paths of Glory covered by
brown paper with the word censored plastered over it, a protest which
ended his career as an official war artist.

What resulted was remarkable. Gough looks in detail at some works with
considerable insight: the 'first great painting of the war',
Kennington's The Kensington's at Laventie; Paul Nash's The Menin Road
(he integrates Cormac Macarthy's story of the aftermath of the
apocalypse, The Road, in this discussion), Nevinson's La Mitrailleuse
The Harvest of Battle and Paths of Glory as well as covering the wider
work of the artist and others.

Though only one artist died at the front, all the artists were affected,
many of them badly. Orpen could not forget the 'mangled corpses' in
Flanders; Nevinson, who was only best when 'he painted something he
hated', saw his reputation go into abeyance and he became more famous
for what he said than what he did; Paul Nash complained about being a
'war artist without a war'; Spencer created one of the most moving
monuments to 20th-century war on the painted walls of Burghclere's
Sandham Memorial Chapel; Lewis turned to fascism: he really was mad, bad
and dangerous to know. They may have achieved some financial security
and were able to bear witness and create a record, even fulfil a dream
that some had feared would never come (Wyndham Lewis wrote in the 1930s:
'You must not miss a war, if one is going!') but many questioned its
worth.

Book in good condition with clean pages throughout and securely bound. Printed in 2010.

Item details

Added value:
1st
Author(s):
Paul Gough
Condition:
Used: good
Dimensions:
24.5 x 17.6 x 2.5 cm
Edition:
1st
Format:
Paperback
ISBN-10:
1906593000
ISBN-13:
9781906593001
Number of pages:
335
Publisher:
Sansom & Company

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About this item

Our view of the Great War, despite recent revisionism, remains the one
that started to appear in the late 1920s: boys led by donkeys; a
slaughter that wasted a nation's youth; and where all were destroyed,
even those who had escaped it shells, as Erich Maria Remarque said. The
art of the war is responsible for this: poetry, drama, novels, film and
the visual arts have all played their part in the creation of this
collective memory.

That 'terrible beauty' should result from such horror has always been
the great paradox of the First World War. Though Paul Gough says that
'Britain did not produce much effective anti-war painting' the overall
impact is overwhelmingly anti-war (there are only a few great anti-war
films - J'Accuse, All Quiet on the Western Front, La Grand Illusion and
Paths of Glory - but these are the ones that are regarded as being close
to the truth). And it is all the more remarkable that, for the visual
arts, it should result from state patronage, in a brutal war, when
bloody conflict nurtured the creative arts.

A Terrible Beauty is a scholarly book that wears its learning lightly;
well illustrated, allowing us to look at as well as read about the
paintings; and mercifully free of the artspeak that denies to most today
an understanding of the world of art. The key artists are covered:
William Orpen, Paul Nash and his brother John; Muirhead Bone and Charles
Nevinson; Wyndham Lewis and Stanley Spencer. Gough also gives us some of
those less well-known: Paul Maze, Adrian Hill and Sydney Jones.

Artists were involved from the start, some welcoming, briefly, the
cleansing that would result in a defeat of abstraction as well as
Germany. They were free to paint what they saw, though after 1917 were
not allowed to portray the dead (they could do so again after the
Armistice) and even modernism was quietly encouraged. But they had to
put up with appalling conditions even though they were excused the
privations of the battlefield; were seen as spies by some; had trouble
keeping paper dry; and, as the war went on, had to face increasing
censorship - Nevinson exhibited his great work Paths of Glory covered by
brown paper with the word censored plastered over it, a protest which
ended his career as an official war artist.

What resulted was remarkable. Gough looks in detail at some works with
considerable insight: the 'first great painting of the war',
Kennington's The Kensington's at Laventie; Paul Nash's The Menin Road
(he integrates Cormac Macarthy's story of the aftermath of the
apocalypse, The Road, in this discussion), Nevinson's La Mitrailleuse
The Harvest of Battle and Paths of Glory as well as covering the wider
work of the artist and others.

Though only one artist died at the front, all the artists were affected,
many of them badly. Orpen could not forget the 'mangled corpses' in
Flanders; Nevinson, who was only best when 'he painted something he
hated', saw his reputation go into abeyance and he became more famous
for what he said than what he did; Paul Nash complained about being a
'war artist without a war'; Spencer created one of the most moving
monuments to 20th-century war on the painted walls of Burghclere's
Sandham Memorial Chapel; Lewis turned to fascism: he really was mad, bad
and dangerous to know. They may have achieved some financial security
and were able to bear witness and create a record, even fulfil a dream
that some had feared would never come (Wyndham Lewis wrote in the 1930s:
'You must not miss a war, if one is going!') but many questioned its
worth.

Book in good condition with clean pages throughout and securely bound. Printed in 2010.

Added value:
1st
Author(s):
Paul Gough
Condition:
Used: good
Dimensions:
24.5 x 17.6 x 2.5 cm
Edition:
1st
Format:
Paperback
ISBN-10:
1906593000
ISBN-13:
9781906593001
Number of pages:
335
Publisher:
Sansom & Company

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