Coquelicot Art of the First World War
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C. R. W. Nevinson, Explosion, c.1916, oil on canvas, 61 x 45.8 cm.

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The age of artillery

44 - C. R. W. Nevinson

A year later, when he returned to this subject, his treatment was simpler and more narrative. Nothing remains of the phosphorescent spiral, and Nevinson reduces his language to a proliferation of oblique lines radiating out from a central point - the point of impact - which he also places at the summit of two dark triangles. He again abandons nearly all the colours of the spectrum, using only greys and browns, so much so that his treatment of the explosion is almost photographic. While the painting retains its symbolic force, it has lost some of its experimental value.

44-Nevinson" At that moment, another whistling sound rang out up in the air; we all felt it, our hearts in our mouths, this one's for us. Then a huge, deafening din - the shell had landed right in the midst of us.
Half-dazed, I got to my feet. In the huge shell-hole, machine-gun cartridge belts set off by the explosion glowed with a crude pink light. They lit up the heavy smoke where a mass of twisted blackened bodies lay and the shadows of survivors were running away in every direction. At the same time many appalling screams of pain and appeals for help could be heard.
The dark mass of people turning around the bottom of this glowing, smoking cauldron opened out for a second almost like the vision of a hellish nightmare, the deepest abyss of horror. "

Ernst Jünger, Storms of Steel.