LECTURE ON WORLD WAR ONE ART WAS ENTERTAINING, EDUCATING, AND ENRICHINGPosted on 1st December 2018
During the First World War the British government developed a variety of art schemes to bear witness to the conflict. Tania Harrington’s far reaching and ambitious talk on the subject examined how revolutionary changes in both the world of art and the technology of warfare combined to produce a body of work of astonishing power and visceral intensity.
Using a combination of images and pertinent text, Harrington took us through the work of Mark Gertler, Paul Nash, C R W Nevinson and William Orpen with an unusual clarity, pitching the talk at a level that was accessible to novice and enthusiast alike. Consistently engaging, and unapologetically opinionated, she explored with measured, but evident, enthusiasm how the politics and culture of the day influenced the contrasting art movements battling with the hearts and minds of the public, as the avant-garde and traditional styles struggled to find a way to capture the horror of war.
This was a densely informative hour in the finest Reithian tradition – entertaining, educating and enriching – that not only illustrated one of the most vibrant and challenging periods in British Art, but did so in respectful remembrance of the fallen.
By David Vass