Coquelicot Art of the First World War
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Otto Dix, Gesehen am Steilhang von Cléry-sur-Somme (On the Slopes of Cléry-sur-Somme), 1924, engraving and aquatint, 35.3 x 47.5 cm, Historial de la Grande Guerre, Péronne.

© SESAM, Paris, 1998.

The death

92 - Otto Dix

Dix's other manner. Impassive detail and the accumulation of elements for an exhaustive description of his subject: corpses abandoned in a destroyed dugout. A plant has taken root in the crownless skull. There is an arm and a jaw missing. A leg has come away at the knee. The stomachs have emptied themselves on the clothes and on the ground. The process of putrefaction is underway. Jünger describes a very similar scene: "One day while I was forcing my way, alone, through the undergrowth, I was surprised by a gentle whistling and gurgling noise. I moved towards the sound and fell upon two corpses which seemed to have been called back by the heat wave to a kind of life in death. The night was heavy and silent; I remained there for a long time, fascinated, watching this disturbing scene."