Coquelicot Art of the First World War
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C. R. W. Nevinson, The Harvest of Battle, 1919, oil on canvas, 182.8 x 317.8 cm, Imperial War Museum, London.

© Imperial War Museum.


71 - C. R. W. Nevinson

Of all the commemorative paintings produced after the armistice, this is one of the most forthright. Without embellishment, it tells the truth about war wounds, as men from both sides, German prisoners and exhausted British soldiers, make their way back to the trenches after some horrific battle. They are helping one another along, carrying the most seriously wounded on makeshift stretchers, and their line winds its way among the flooded shell-holes and the heaps of strewn bodies whose nationality is no longer identifiable. In order to convey this vision, Nevinson uses descriptive realism, a far cry from the Cubo-Futurism of his early days, and closer to the naturalism used by Otto Dix shortly afterwards in his painting The Trench.