21 January 2015

Gas Attack

16" x 20", oil on wood panel, 2014

Too gruesome to recount, you can read this synopsis of chemical warfare to get an idea of just how horrific this new weapon was.

This excerpt from Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum est" (which I had excerpted the ending for use in the exhibition of my World War One painting project) conveys the nastiness better than my painting:
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! — An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime ...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

And here's an interesting story about Fritz Haber, and the incredibly ironic path that led to the chemical warfare of WWI.

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