May Painting of the Month

VE Day (Victory in Europe) celebrates the day, seventy five years ago, that Europe crawled out of the Second World War, as Germany unconditionally surrendered, following Adolf Hitler’s suicide in a Berlin bunker days earlier. We will celebrate the occasion, May 8th, this Friday with a bank holiday. Will it feel any different to Thursday or Saturday? Let’s hope so.

VE Day, Cowley, Second World War, Tate, Nash, warplanes, oxford
Paul Nash, Totes Meer (Dead Sea) 1940-1 Tate collection, London

The futility of war can be understood by Paul Nash’s The Dead Sea, 1940-1, in the Tate Collection London. The painting, properly entitled Totes Meer, after the German, was created by Nash after seeing the dump of broken planes in a field at Cowley near Oxford. Nash produced the night scene to emphasise the stillness and deathlike appearance (note the flight of the owl looking for carrion).

Nash described it as reminding him of a great sea with crashing breakers and foam…except totally static and dead.

Do enjoy VE Day and do remember the importance of remembrance!

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