Coquelicot Art of the First World War
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  34-de la Fresnaye

Roger de la Fresnaye, L'artillerie (Artillery), 1911, oil on canvas, 130.2 x 159.4 cm, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

© Photo The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gift of Florene M. Schoenborn, 1991.

The age of artillery

34 - Roger de la Fresnaye

Close to Cubism, La Fresnaye (1885-1925) preferred to think of himself as a historical painter, but a painter of contemporary history. Whilst his Cavalryman returned to a theme taken from Géricault, the same does not hold for Artillery, which could have been inspired by the numerous illustrations and photographs of manoeuvres which appeared in the French press at a time when the "recovery of lost provinces" was still no more than a subject for patriotic rhetoric. La Fresnaye brings together such symbolic elements as the flag, military music, the officer on the white horse, and descriptive elements such as the gun, its caisson and its servers transported by a horse-drawn cart. The Cubist-inspired geometry suits the tubular structures of the wheel spokes and the helmeted men seen from the back.