The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme. This month we are discussing War and Peace. I think you’ll find some really interesting articles on this topic, so take a look at the bottom of the page for them all.
The diverse collection of French World War I trench art at the Musee de Somme 1916 includes painted, cut, shaped, and hammered pieces.
Artists across cultures, time, and place have depicted war, from the vases of ancient Greece to the romanticized paintings of Napoleon’s campaigns. However a common thread is that these images of battle were created by those not involved in fighting, or were done years after the fact for patriotic or sentimental reasons. What we don’t often see is art created by soldiers in the midst of battle and experiencing the brutality of conflict. When they do create, often as a means of distraction, these pieces constitute a tiny genre called Trench Art.
This year, Veterans Day is particularly poignant as we commemorate the 100th Anniversary of World War I. While many of us recognize the startling images of World War II, the Great War from 1914-1918 remains a little more distant. To gain some new understanding on this centenary, here are four of the best destinations for discovering World War I history.
A poppy among the British and French graves from the Battle of the Somme at the High Wood Cemetery, France (Photo)
It’s actually pretty hard to find the World War I battlefields in Northern France. Infamous for the bloody stalemate that lasted there for years, the land has now returned to tranquil fields. While contemplating this change driving through the Somme Valley, I happened across the American Cemetery. The front gate and chapel door were unclosed, but there was not a single person to be seen. I thought it fitting on Veterans Day (also known as Remembrance Day in the UK and Canada, and Armistice Day in France) which commemorates the November 11, 1918 end of World War I, that we visit this quiet cemetery in the French countryside and think about these forgotten battles that took the lives of these soldiers.
The Somme American Cemetery and Monument seems to pop up out of nowhere, interrupting miles of French farmland.