Artwork Title: Traces of War

Traces of War

Geliy Korzhev

Among the most poignant works in the "Burnt by the Fire of War" cycle, this work, so dear to Korzhev's own heart, nonetheless made him the target of much criticism. "Traces of War" can hardly be called a portrait in the normal sense: it is rather, the artist suggests, a collective image - the "face of war". The disfigured face of a wounded soldier is shown en face against a light, neutral background: a monumental version of a passport photograph. The painter's view is akin to that of the camera lens, recording visible reality with impartial precision. Yet Korzhev here is far from an indifferent observer, who simply relates what he has observed. The artist's choice of hero, the way the face is enlarged, the grief and sober gravity of the situation define Korzhev's true feelings towards his subject. The soldier's disfigured eye that so repelled some critics, prompting accusations of the inappropriate portrayal of a monumental hero, is rendered clearly and convincingly, without excessive physiological detail. Later, Korzhev expressed thoughts on what is and is not permissible in art: "I think we should not overwhelm people with despair, fear, terror and ugliness. Such themes aren't for the arts. Affirmation of courage, beauty and kindness, even through the depiction of terrible scenes, is the main principle of the arts." (
79 x 59 in
Uploaded on Aug 8, 2017 by Suzan Hamer

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