War from a Critical Point of View
Oil on canvas.
The painting measures 510 x 170 cm. The light in the pupil is located in the exact centre of the painting.
Two crosses make up the basic composition.
The first one is made up of two diagonal lines from corner to corner.
The second one is three-dimensional and made up by the two bullets. One bullet has been fired in the axis towards the spectator and is located where the two diagonal lines meet (the centre of the painting). The second bullet has been fired on the horizontal axis that is the golden cut of the painting. The golden cut is the section where the smaller part has the same proportion in distance to the bigger part, as the bigger part to their combined distance.
The adult Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler as a child
THE SCENES DEPICTING REASONS FOR WAR
Adolf Hitler, who wanted to conquer the world by initiating the Second World War in 1939. 100 million people died.
Adolf Hitler as a child in 1890. Is a person born evil or is he made evil by society and circumstances?
L’Arc de Triomphe, Place d’Étoile, Paris. A monument made for glorify the conquest of other peoples.
Poster of Slobodan Milosevic, the butcher from Serbia guilty of genocide.
Medals for valiant fighting for victory.
Map over unknown territories ripe for conquest (Mexico and the Caribbean in the XVI century).
Crusaders who in the name of religion set out on crusades to vanquish the “infidels”.
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) who for glory and power conquered and crowned himself emperor of all Europe.
Leaves of laurel; since the times of the Roman emperors the symbol of the victor.
Genghis Khan from Mongolia who during the Middle Ages conquered more territory than anyone in history.
Saddam Hussein of Iraq, guilty of genocide. When his army was forced to leave Kuwait after his attempt to conquer the country, he ordered all oil wells to be set on fire. Kuwait was inundated with oil. It took eight months to put out the fire.
THE SCENES DEPICTING MEANS TO MAKE WAR
Cannon from XVII century. The technology to forge iron into mortal weapons gave the Europeans the advantage they needed to conquer and dominate most of the world from the XIV through the XIX century.
Barbed wire used in forced labour and concentration camps.
Medieval sword. The taller Europeans could use longer swords that gave them an advantage in battles against the peoples they wanted to subjugate.
A rifle bullet. The firearms developed in Europe gave the conquerors of the Americas enormous advantages.
Fire. The simplest, quickest and least costly way to victory. It has been used to burn forts and villages, smoke out forest hideouts and to teach the obstinate a lesson. The Russians have on various occasions used fire for their burnt-soil strategy leaving nothing behind to eat for the arriving armies.
Atomic bomb explosion as an exclamation mark where the painting ends. The most lethal weapon made by humans in existence. The first two were used by USA against Japan and ended the 2nd World War in August 1945.
The US Revolver Colt Peacemaker from 1830. With arms like this emigrants from Europe conquered the Wild West and sent the surviving Indians to reservations.
THE SCENES DEPICTING EFFECTS OF WAR
Pile of human skulls from the Killing Fields. During the tyranny rule of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouges in the 1970’s over a million men, women and children were slaughtered.
Detail from the giant work ‘Guernica’ painted Pablo Picasso after he was informed that Francisco Franco had bombed the homonymous village in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War.
A bridge – symbol for human relations, dialogue, communication and trade – that is being blown up.
A hand that is tearing down the propaganda for a warmonger with promises of greatness through military conquest. The poster has been pasted on a brick wall, symbol for inaccessibility.
African boy, a victim of endless local wars, who is being taught how to use a firearm to kill instead of being educated.
A starving child.
A burning village.
A raped woman.
Death. During 1999 there were 24 million people killed or mutilated in acts of war.
A sarcophagus. In many countries there monuments over a symbolic tomb for a fallen unknown soldier.
A cross made in blood marking the premeditated decision to conquer a people by military force in the knowledge that the cost is human lives.
Execution by a shot in the neck in front of a mass grave.
A scene by Francisco Goya from his drawings of ‘The Disasters of War’. These were done from what he actually saw during the invasion of Spain by Napoleon’s troops circa 1800.
An invalid with one leg taken off by a landmine. The landmine is one of the cheapest weapons that can be built. The average cost in 1999 was 15 US dollars. It is still considered that there are millions of landmines left in countries that have suffered war on their territory during the XX century, which prevents the cultivation of land.
REFERENCES TO ART IN HISTORY & TECHNIQUES USED
Horse, detail from ‘Guernica’ by Pablo Picasso (cubism).
Monument, the triumphal arch on Place d’Étoile in Paris.
Medieval sword (futurism).
The background of the crusaders (impressionism)
‘Napoleon Bonaparte’ by David (romanticism).
From the series ‘The Disasters of War’ by Francisco Goya (realism).
The explosion of an atomic bomb (expressionism).
The answer to the question that the painting should provoke is a detail found in the photograph of Adolf Hitler as a child.