A History of Thunder

29 Feb 2016 – 24 Mar 2016

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The Fine Art Society

London, United Kingdom

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The Fine Art Society will present a selling exhibition of works exploring the depiction of war through some of the most important artists in early twentieth-century Britain.


Works will be shown alongside a major contemporary installation by the multi media artist, Michael Petry, bringing a contemporary resonance to the representation of conflict.

As the First and Second World Wars were taking place, artists who experienced the impact of those years or war at first hand - either enlisting of becoming official war artists - felt the necessity of finding a new visual language to describe the many aspects of those unprecedented events.

A History of Thunder will include paintings, etchings, lithographs and drawings expressing the experience of war from multiple perspectives, from the military and domestic effects of war on Britain to the haunting and inevitable spectre of death. Exhibiting artists include Walter Sickert, Graham Sutherland, C. R. W. Nevinson, Eric Ravilious and Paul Nash.

As an established gallery, The Fine Art Society held several major exhibitions related to the War between 1914 and 1918. The exhibition ‘Britain’s Efforts and Ideals in the Great War’ (July 1917) presented works by official war artists C. R. W. Nevinson and Eric Kennington, both featuring in the current show with ‘That Cursèd Wood’ (1918) and ‘Head of a Soldier’ (c.1942) respectively.

Works by other notable war artists include ‘Rain, Lake Zillebeke’ (1918) by Paul Nash and ‘Working Controls when Submerged’ (1940) by Eric Ravilious. The exhibition will also feature the painting,‘Tipperary’ (1914) by the Camden Town Group artist, Walter Sickert. Alongside the poignant wall based works the exhibition presents an installation by gallery artist, Michael Petry.

Reflecting his interest in contemporary aspects of the classical world, ‘Joshua D’s Wall’ is inspired from the creation myth of Joshua and the battle of Jericho which is found in the Bible, the Koran and the Torah.

The installation is made up of hand-crafted glass stones, made at the Berengo glass studios in Murano, Italy. Commissioned by the Palm Springs Art Museum in 2012, sections of the original 250 stone piece have been exhibited in Venice, Houston, Santa Fe and Stockholm. 

Mirroring Joshua’s mythic destruction of the city walls of Jericho on instruction by god, as each stone is sold, the installation is slowly destroyed in a fittingly powerful statement referencing both classical and religious mythology and contemporary geo-political conflict.

The exhibition coincides with the world premiere performance of A Prussian Requiem (Powell: score, Petry: libretto) at the Royal Festival Hall. The requiem will feature on The Philharmonia Orchestra’s First World War Commemoration Concert on Sunday 6 March 2016. Composer and Academy award nominee John Powell and Petry have worked on the performance, opera and installation for over 25 years.

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