War is a topic often explored in art. It can be depicted in many different ways. It can be shown as bloody and cruel or as grand and majestic. Some artists choose to focus on glorifying the heroes of war. Others choose to focus on the unfortunate fate of the victims.
John Trumbell depicted war in his painting The Death of General Montgomery in the Attack on Quebec. The painting is a 24 5/8 inch long by 37 inch wide oil on canvas. It is from 1786. It is now in the Yale University Art Gallery. It depicts a scene from the Revolutionary War. Trumbell uses vivid colors to show the liveliness of the scene. The scene is filled with action and movement. A cloth wrapped around a tree branch suggests this movement, as it looks like it is blowing in a fierce wind. Smoke fills most of the background, suggesting that the battle has just finished. Every figure in the scene is moving around or reacting to something, except for the dead bodies. The grandeur of this scene makes it look almost biblical.
A monument that depicts war is the Vietnam War Memorial. It was designed between 1981 and 1984 by Maya Lin. It has two 246 foot black polished granite wings and is located in Washington, D.C. The names of 57,692 Americans who were killed in Vietnam are listed on the wall. The wall itself is simple and elegant. It does not realistically depict any loss, emotion, brutality, or victory, as many other war themed works of art do. It simply presents names and lets the viewer draw upon their own images and memories of the war. Vietnam was such a controversial war, but the wall dignifies those who gave their lives for the cause, be it a just one or not.
A photograph which depicts war is Marines Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima by Joe Rosenthal. It was taken in February of 1945. It is from World War II, and was taken after the US won a battle at Iwo Jima. The photo gives the viewer a feeling of triumph and victory. This photo has become an icon in American culture.