Witnesses of War Bring Beauty

Francisco de Goya, “Contra el bien general (Against the common good),” 1863, Plate 71 from The Disasters of War, etching, © University of San Diego 2017

A recently opened exhibition is a disturbing yet beautiful exploration of how several historical artists captured images of war.

More than 100 outstanding etchings and lithographs compose a gripping exhibition at the Timken Museum of Art in San Diego, California. “Witness to War” opened on January 27 and will continue through May 28, and it is being met with great acclaim.

Depicting searing images from the 17th to the 20th centuries, “Witness to War” features the works of Francisco de Goya, Jacques Callot, and George Bellows. Among the wars represented are the Thirty Years War, the Napoleonic War, and the First World War. Via the museum, “When war again is once a crucial issue ‘Witness to War’ speaks to its violence. Difficult to look at with the many scenes of savagery and suffering it yields compassion for victims of such suffering and abuses. ‘Witness to War’ highlights the way art speaks in different voices to different generations, and transcends the particularities of a specific war, encouraging viewers to integrate the artist’s intention with our own experiences and beliefs to create meaning for these works of art.”

To learn more, visit the Timken Museum of Art.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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