We Are Making A New World (1918), Paul Nash
Paul Nash, official British war artist for both the First and Second World Wars, expressed everything that has ever needed to be said about the horror and destruction of war with just this one great painting. Writing to his wife from the Western front on 16 November 1917 he said:
"I am no longer an artist. I am a messenger who will bring back word from the men who are fighting to those who want the war to go on for ever. Feeble, inarticulate will be my message, but it will have a bitter truth and may it burn their lousy souls."
I love his paintings and saw this in Dulwich Art Gallery last year at an exhibition of his work. It is massive, enormous, overpowering. The shell-blasted land, the ravaged trees like broken soldiers, the bleeding sky. The painting had a bench in front of it. I sat on the bench and looked at his bitter truth and couldn’t help but cry.