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280 × 210 × 30 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 has 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.

War and Art offers a visual, cultural, and historical account of depictions of war and its aftermath over the past 200 years. The artists and representations cross a variety of media – from paintings, prints and photography, and comics to film, digital art, and graffiti – in an effort to visualize war, memory, commemorative actions, and outcomes . . . Richly illustrated with more than 400 illustrations and including notes for each essay and a brief bibliography of about 50 sources, the volume will be of interest to readers in history, art history, military history, ethnic and cultural identity, memory studies, and related fields of material and cultural heritage . . . Recommended.’ — Choice

‘It is salutary that one of the leading historians of war and violence, Joanna Bourke, whose work defined how these concepts are thought of in relation to gender, emotions and the body, sought to redress such issues through the prism of visual culture. The result is a large, lavishly illustrated tome expertly edited by Bourke, with 16 chapters by as many scholars . . . the book has an impressive arc and span: a survey, reader and primer, all-in-one . . . War and Art stands out for the way in which it brings together a heterogeneous range of artistic practices and visual modalities – from oil painting to aircraft fuselage, feature films to drone images, embroidery to virtual reality. This rich span allows it to make historical sense of the endless complexity of forms, ideologies, discourses, and ends to which art lends itself in relation to war, as well as to give readers a fuller account of the different subject positions involved. This comprehensive volume, ambitious in scope and scale, is a welcome addition to the literature and a reference point for why visuality matters to the humanities as never before.’ — Journal of Contemporary History

‘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'

‘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)

‘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, Cambridge

‘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

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Joanna Bourke is Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London. Her many books include What it Means to be Human (2011).



War Imagery between the Crimean Campaign and 1914

The Two World Wars

In the Heat of the Cold War, 1945-77

Contemporary War; Contemporary Art


Propaganda, Art and War

War and Film

Trench Art: Objects and People in Conflict

Visions of the Apocalypse: Documenting the Hidden Artwork of Abandoned Cold War Bases


Kiyochika’s Last Laughs: Satirical War Prints form the First Sino-Japanese (1894-5) and Russo-Japanese (1904-5) Wars

‘In front of me is the war, and I battle with it with all my strength’: The Wars of Vasili Vereshchagin and Natalia Goncharova

‘The most gruesome picture ever painted’: Otto Dix and the Truth of War

Kathe Kollwitz and the Art of War

‘A concentrated utterance of total war’: Paul Nash, C.R.W. Nevinson and the Great War

I Do (Not) Challenge: Nancy Spero’s War Series

‘My Name is David and I will be your war artist for the day’: David Cotterrell Shoots a Video


Drawn in Blood and Bone: The Art of Captives of War

The Crayon War: How Children Drew the Great War

Rape in the Art of War

Video Games, War and Operational Aesthetics

Art Against War



Notes on Contributors


Photo Acknowledgements