Monday, May 30, 2011

Chronicling War Through Art

Flags that were placed on gravesites at Fort L...Image via WikipediaLet us remember those who gave all and the people who mourn them.  Today is about remembering sacrifices given so that we can be who we are today. 

We rarely think about the intermingling of art and war, but as far back as we go there have always been artists chronicling the destruction and devastation of war.  Many artists died in war, many gathered information to save lives, many simply chronicled the daily lives of those who live the war.

This article is from the Hartford Courant and is well worth the time it takes to read it.


May 25, 2011Submitted by Michael D. Fay, MFA Student in Illustration, The Hartford Courant
Michael Fay drew this portrait from a photo he took of Lance Cpl. Nicholas G. Ciccone. The image shows Ciccone, a rifleman, immediately after dropping his heavy backpack upon returning from a nine-day battle with the Taliban in the mountains above Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2002. Ciccone committed suicide after his discharge from the Marines.
Michael D. Fay, of Fredericksburg, Va., is a student in the master of fine arts in illustration program at the University of Hartford. But from 2000 to 2010 Fay, who wrote this Memorial Day weekend piece for iTowns, was one of two combat artists for the U.S. Marine Corps, sketching scenes and soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in stateside hospitals where they were treated for battle wounds. Fay, 57, has since founded the Joe Bonham project, which coordinates opportunities for artists to embed with soldiers, both overseas and at home as they recover from their injuries. For details about Fay and the Joe Bonham project, visit and

Ex bellum ars: from war, art. This is the motto of The International Society of War Artists.

There's just a handful of working war artists, and none of us have consciously sought the title. For one thing, to become a war artist, you need a war.

During every conflict, from the Civil War and through Vietnam, artists have gone into harm's way to create a visual record of people and places embroiled in conflict. However, each of us has followed different paths leading to the front lines.
My path started as an official combat artist for the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
Here in America, both the press and our armed forces have maintained combat art programs since the Civil War.
Some of our nation's premier artists and illustrators have gone to war to create art. In 1861, Winslow Homer went off for Harper's Weekly as a "special"; his battlefield sketches would be transformed into newspaper images and after the war, he created a series of paintings informing America's perception of the Civil War even up to this day.
WWII experienced the greatest number of artists at war, and Vietnam was recorded by numerous official and unofficial war artists.
Since Vietnam, photography and film have largely overwhelmed traditional fine art in telling the story of war. During the ongoing Global War on Terror, photos and film footage continue to hold pre-eminence in telling the visual story. But a small group of working artists has continued to personally witness combat and create art...[read more]

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~Rasz~ said...

What a beautiful post. Art and war have gone hand in hand throughout time. One of our local Veterans, who is also an incredible artist, donated a drawing he had done to our local VA Office! He is expressing his service through his art!

Glad to have found you through Diane at My Art Journal! You have a great blog!