Imagined Battles: Reflections Of War In European Art
Publish Date: 1997-09-15
Author: Peter Paret
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For thousands of years, art has interpreted the experience of war--its methods, human costs, and moral ambiguities--and has offered historians a wealth of testimony that is only beginning to be systematically explored. In this wide-ranging study, Peter Paret discusses forty-seven paintings and prints as complex documents of war in Europe since the Renaissance and as examples of the artist's use of war as a metaphor for the human condition. The images include works by such major artists as Uccello, Gericault, and Dix as well as academic history paintings and popular prints. By setting each in its historical environment and analyzing it from the perspective of the wars of its time, illuminates the place of war in Western consciousness and expands our understanding of works that are too often approached with little concern for the reality they depict or symbolically transform. Perhaps the most significant of the themes he traces over five centuries is the gradual change from the prince or general to the common soldier and civilian victim as central figures in the interpretation of war in art.