Saturday, April 6, 2013

Bloody War

Painting(1946) by Francis Bacon

Similar to Rembrandt’s “Butchered Ox,” Francis Bacon’s “Painting” (1946), depicts a bloody animal “sprung up like a crucifixion.” Though Bacon did not intend to reflect the war battles of the period, critics have been associating the paintings with World War 2. With its use of bloody flesh, gore, and the depiction of this butchered animal, I can see how critics may see a reflection upon humanity with this painting.
Representative of WW2 (from outside the artist’s perspective), the blood and flesh is used to symbolized what society has become. With the millions of people killed during WW2, the mass slaughter of Jewish people, and Hitler’s dictatorship, it seemed like all faith in humanity had been lost. The figure under the umbrella resembles the prime minister of the United Kingdom, Neville Chamberlain, also known as the umbrella resembles the prime minister of the United Kingdom, Neville Chamberlain, also known as the umbrella man. He is represented as the butcher or murderer of the animal, mainly because he is best known for the appeasement foreign policy toward Nazi Germany. The appeasement was used to avoid war with the Hitler’s dictatorship, trying to avoid the events that happened during WW1. Though he thought it was a good idea at first, many critics said that he let Hitler’s Germany grow too strong. Though he had no direct say to kill all the Jews, he is still looked as a murderer.
            To accompany this painting, I have included a poem that is from the perspective of those being “slaughtered”. It is really intense, and there is so much emotion that you capture when you read this.

On The Slaughter by Hayyim Nahman Bialik

Heaven, beg mercy for me!  If there is
a God in you, a pathway through
you to this God - which I have not
discovered - then pray for me!  For my
heart is dead, no longer is there prayer
on my lips; all strength is gone, and
hope is no more.  Until when, how
much longer, until when?

You, executioner!  Here's my neck - go
to it, slaughter me!  Behead me like a
dog, yours is the almighty arm and the
axe, and the whole earth is my scaffold
- and we, we are the few! My blood is
fair game - strike the skull, and
murder's blood, the blood of nurslings
and old men, will spurt onto your
clothes and will never, never be wiped

And if there is justice - let it show
itself at once!  But if justice show itself
after I have been blotted out from
beneath the skies - let its throne be
hurled down forever!  Let heaven rot
with eternal evil!  And you, the arrogant,
go in this violence of yours, live by
your bloodshed and be cleansed by it.

And cursed be the man who says:
Avenge!  No such revenge - revenge for
the blood of a little child - has yet been
devised by Satan.  Let the blood pierce
through the abyss!  Let the blood seep
down into the depths of darkness, and
eat away there, in the dark, and breach
all the rotting foundations of the earth.

History of Modern Art by H. H. Arnason and Elizabeth C. Mansfield

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