Jacket Image

Enlarge Image

280 × 210 mm
392 pages
445 illustrations, 401 in colour
01 Nov 2017

War and Art A Visual History of Modern Conflict Joanna Bourke

This sumptuously illustrated volume, edited by eminent war historian Joanna Bourke, offers a comprehensive visual, cultural and historical account of the ways in which armed conflict has been represented in art. Covering the last two centuries, the book shows how the artistic portrayal of war changed, from a celebration of heroic exploits to a more modern, truthful depiction of warfare and its consequences.

Featuring illustrations by artists including Paul Nash, Judy Chicago, Pablo Picasso, Melanie Friend, Francis Bacon, Käthe Kollwitz, Yves Klein, Robert Rauschenberg, Dora Meeson, Otto Dix and many others, as well as those who are often overlooked, such as children, non-European artists and prisoners of war, this extensive survey is a fitting and timely contribution to the understanding, memory and commemoration of war, and will appeal to a wide audience interested in warfare, art, history or politics.

Introduction by Joanna Bourke, with essays by Jon Bird, Monica Bohm-Duchen, Joanna Bourke, Grace Brockington, James Chapman, Michael Corris, Patrick Crogan, Jo Fox, Paul Gough, Gary Haines, Clare Makepeace, Sue Malvern, Sergiusz Michalski, Manon Pignot, Anna Pilkington, Nicholas J. Saunders, John Schofield, John D. Szostak, Sarah Wilson and Jay Winter.

EXTRACT: to read and download the introduction from the book please click here.

‘This extraordinary volume provides a comprehensive visual, cultural, and historical account of the ways in which armed conflict has been represented by artists. Covering the last two centuries, from the Crimean War to the present day, it features sumptuous illustrations by Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, Yves Klein, and many others.’ – Military History Monthly

‘The traumas and tragedies of war should never be underestimated or forgotten. They change lives—combatants' and noncombatants'—in unimaginable ways with far-reaching and generational effects. Artists provide visual representations and reminders of the scope and horrors of war. The platitude “a picture is worth a thousand words” is vividly reaffirmed in War and Art. The book surveys war art of the last two centuries, from the Crimean War through the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.’ – Michigan War Studies Review

‘In this wonderful, yet, at times, harrowing book, the editor has explored the art of war right up to the present day; genres such as film and photography, and then concentrates on nine artists who are known for their revealing and individual images . . . this is a vital volume for historians, artists and anyone interested in the change of warfare, and should be appreciated for the extensive and enlightening research.’ – Yorkshire Gazette and Herald

‘This is a large, abundantly well-illustrated book. A collection of essays, it is organized thematically (Histories, Genres, Artists, Contexts) and then chronologically within each theme. The contributors include art historians, photo historians, and military historians . . . the great variety of voices within the volume is one of its strengths, and the mix of approach from military history to art history is relatively unusual for the topic, which is often approached from a more unified direction. And the topical organization serves to draw together artists and works that one might not otherwise encounter.’ – ARLIS/NA Reviews

‘This exciting collection of original and beautifully illustrated essays is essential reading for anyone interested in the visual representation of war in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.’ — Sir Richard Evans, President of Wolfson college, Cambridge, and author of The Third Reich at War

‘This ambitious volume will be a landmark in the study of war as well as in visual culture studies.’ – Peter Burke, Professor Emeritus of Cultural History and Fellow of Emmanuel College

‘What happens when you encourage a group of archivists, archeologists, anthropologists and historians of all sorts into the terrain of war art? An extraordinary collection, exhilarating in its ways of seeing, consistently moving in its attention to artists and the audiences – soldiers and statesmen; men, women, and children – for war’s pity and terror.’ – Carolyn Steedman FBA, Emeritus Professor, University of Warwick

‘Beautifully illustrated and covers everything from the often neglected role of women artists to the strange decorations found in Cold War bunkers; from the works of some of the most notable war artists to questions about history and memory.  It is a must read for anyone interested in the art of war, and in our complex human responses to the violence of conflict and the commemoration of battle.’ – Alexandra Richie, author of Faust's Metropolis. A History of Berlin (1998) and Warsaw 1944: Hitler, Himmler, and the Warsaw Uprising (2013)

Show all

Joanna Bourke is Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London, and Global Innovations Chair at the University of Newcastle, Australia. She is the author of many books, including An Intimate History of Killing (1999), Fear: A Cultural History (2005), The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers (2014) and Wounding the World: How Military Violence and War-play Invade our Lives (2014).