Saturday, November 27, 2004

Art of War

Serendipitous post.
On my way to the library, I read this paragraph on the bus:
Napoleon himself was represented ad nauseum, the hero leading the charge across the bridge at Lodi, presenting eagles to his legions, riding his chariot in a Roman triumph or apothosized as a classical deity, sparing the coqnuered on the battle field or subjecting the proud, visiting the victims of plague, rousing by his very presence the spirit of devotion in the wounded and dying. It is quite clear that the French painters of the period and Goya - of course, a painter on a different scale and magnitude - were not illustrating the same war. But it would be a mistake to to judge the political success of Napoleon's artists by their artistic merits. Their influence in the formation of the Napoleonic legend and in creating and perpetuating a romantic attitude to war is not to be underestimated...
From A history of modern france : volume 2 : 1799-1871 / Alfred Cobban.

He must mean some of the pictures here. Which - tangentally - reminds me of this story.

Of course, this is the time before photos, before the capturing of moving images the conveyance of reality in 2.5 gigapixels photos that can be beamed around the Earth in seconds.

That's not to say, though, that images aren't still created, shaped and built, if only through choice of photos. The owner of Fallujah Pictures blog seems to dig that, and is attempting to chose different image of war - be warned, you can find plenty grizzly there. The response to this is interesting, the invocation of worse and more horrific images by the Other side - their atrocity is bigger than ours.

Just as, though, the napoeonic pictures are now a useful resource, so too would I suggest that the pictures there are worth considering when coming to any judgement, historical or otherwise, about the Iraq war.


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