Recently, I visited a museum of modern art. I am studying the course about World War II, and our instructor invited us to visit the museum of modern art and observe the works of art related to the events of this dramatic historical period. In the museum, I witnessed many pieces of art by famous authors. These works clearly showed pain, suffering experienced by and consequences caused to humanity during the Second World War. However, there were three artworks that made the strongest impression on me.
The first masterpiece is a picture Painting (1946) by Francis Bacon. The work looks appalling and confusing at first, but, if study it closer, it is evident that there are depicted several scenes related to the events of World War II. An image of a man who hides his face behind an umbrella and poses an evil grimace reminds the indifference of the authorities that sent soldiers to war. The crucified carcass of an animal, which is depicted in the background, resembles the human form and symbolizes the pain and humiliation of the people who were involved in the war (Kleiner 170). Three curtains, which can also be seen in the painting, mirror Hitler’s bunker photo. Without a doubt, all the element depicted can be interpreted in different ways, but the fact that the picture was written after the war as well as a sudden change of the author’s intention to draw a totally different picture, makes it even more mystical (Kleiner 173). The Painting of Francis Bacon makes me realize and sense brutality, horror, misery, and despair the humanity suffered during the World War II.
The second work, which evoked an uncommon feeling in me, is a photo taken by photographer Shomei Tomatsu, who is known for his black and white photographs with strong emotional content. This photo belongs to a series of photographs that Shomei Tomatsu did after the atomic bomb had been dropped on Nagasaki (Rubinfien, Junkerman, and Tomatsu 11). The picture illustrates a young man who buries his head in his sweater; his hands are spread out in different directions. It seems that he cries. In this photo, the author depicts the powerlessness of a man, who suffered a terrible disaster. The image of a young man conveys the hopelessness and despair of all the people who experienced grief of the final stage of World War II. In the background of the photo, there is an illustration of wall destroyed by the fire. It enhances the despair the figure of a young man expresses. Observing the picture, I understood the feelings of this young person: he has nothing left, no home and no future both demolished by the war. Now, he can only hide and cry.
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The third piece of art is Hydrogen Man. This is a wooden sculpture by American wood-engraver Leonard Baskin. This work of art vividly depicts how radiation and environmental pollution can affect and distort a human being (Davisson 38). At first glance, it seems the person’s body symbolizes a particular disease caused by the radiation. A closer look at this sculpture reveals innate imperfection of this figure. The crookedness of the person implies that radiation after the explosion of the atomic bomb affects the contemporary society, leads to contamination, and damages the future of the current and next generations. By virtue of the woodcut Hydrogen Man, I realized the real price of war. Perhaps, this artwork is not directly related to the World War II, but for me it became an illuminating example, demonstrating that, even if the war is over, its effects and consequences are still felt for many decades. The piece of art is a warning for the future. If humanity does not acquire new values, all people will become similarly mutilated and deformed.
To conclude, the trip to the museum was very exciting and informative experience. Various works of art witnessed allowed me to better understand and comprehend the events of World War II. By means of these works, I realized the true price of war and its consequences for humanity.