Aldwinckle: Painting Analysis

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Art painting air warfare seems to be the biggest controversy with the Second World War Official War Art Program’s declaration of accuracy. “You could paint a wounded man. You could express in the contortions of his body and the taut lines of his face the extremity of his suffering. The correct insignia and a suggestive background would show what breed of combatant he was, whence he came, where he was.” However, air warfare was different. War artists were not allowed on operations for their own safety and because of the limited space onboard an airplane needed for necessary personnel. Thus, war artists were instructed to paint air war from the ground. From the ground, air warfare resembled blurred colored lines because of their speed. At night, …show more content…

The Toronto-born Royal Canadian Air Force war artist, Eric Aldwinckle, used modernism for his painting, Invasion Pattern (see Figure 10). This painting is of the Mustang No. 39 Wing usually meant for Allied reconnaissance missions over France. While the aircraft is easily identified as an Allied plane because of its black and white stripes, the artist has instead focused on the patterns of the landing craft, arms and men moving on the beach below. “The Mustang is clearly recognizable for what it is, but the portrayal of the scene below demonstrates the artist's interest in the abstract forms and shapes of battle as seen from above.” This Aldwinckle artwork both literally paints the scene before him and abstractly does as well; this scene is probably what land battles looked like from the air. It is an accurate representation of the war from a new perspective. Air warfare presented a problem for accuracy in a traditional sense and thus a new approach was …show more content…

Southern Ontarian artist Carl Schaefer was an official war artist with the Royal Canadian Air Force and one of the more vocal war artists in the program. His major critique of air warfare was that because there were no bodies nor faces nor planes and because of the speed at which the aircraft flew, it was difficult for an artist to portray air warfare in the traditional sense. Air war artists had no experience to drew upon and so had to invent methods to accurately record this type of warfare for the Canadian Armed Forces. Accuracy meant something entirely different in this style of warfare. To better record and understand the war, Schaefer persistently argued his way onboard aircrafts during various operations. In Bull’s Eye, Night Exercise from Flying Control, Schaefer separates the viewer from the battle by window panes. However unlike most air warfare paintings, Schaefer does not show planes. There is no direct representation of a battle with a clear enemy, but the viewer understands that this painting is of air warfare. The only realistic traditional image is the window itself. Air war artists like Carl Schaefer conveyed a reality as stated by their directive but whether reality can or should be painted in abstract and

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