The Atrocity of Wars: Visual Expression of Victory and Defeat

By Inas Alkholy.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Documenting victory and defeat today does not need months of painting or sculpting art works anymore. Contemporary means of communication such as movies, television shows and photos sent via newspapers, mobile phones and internet have
become faster and more influential than traditional art forms. When Saddam Hussein was hung, both recording the incident and sending the MPEG file to the world via Bluetooth and GPRS took few minutes. Documenting torture and abuse of Iraqis in every humiliating position in Abu Ghraib prison by means of photography showed how proudly some soldiers deal with victory. It is interesting to ask,
if the artists of Narmer Palette and Arch of Titus were alive today, would they have documented Bush’s victory by a memorial relief or a new triumphal arch? Do satellite television channels and World Wide Web substitute traditional art forms in documenting war and alternate galleries and museums? With the accelerating development of new media technologies visual art seems to lose its documentation and propagation functions. The paper discusses three historical artworks from
nineteenth and twentieth- century that documented wars; Goya’s The Third of May 1808, Delacroix’s Massacre at Chios and Picasso’s Guernica. Another kind of abuse is documented in old relieves, Baptism of Moors and Conversion of the Moor from sixteenth-century Spain and The Spoils of Jerusalem from first-Century Rome. The paper concludes in some contemporary journalistic photos that show the influence of technological advances in covering wars.

Keywords: Human Suffering, Art and War, Media Development, Old and New Wars, Art as Documentation, Art as Propagation

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp.27-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.090MB).

Prof. Inas Alkholy

Associate Professor Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Graphic Design, Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan

An Egyptian-Jordanian scholar who obtained Ph.D, Comparative Arts, Ohio University, 1995; “A Study of the Poetic Transformation of the Visual Image of Paradise in the Alhambra Palace, in Theophile Gautier’s Prose and Poetry of Andalusia”; and M.A. in Graphic, Helwan University, Cairo in 1984; “The Role of Color in Poster Design.” I published scholarly papers: “The Presence of the Book of Knowledge in Raphael’s Fresco”; “The Dialectic Between Styles: Gautier’s Poem and Couture’s Painting”; “The Development of Formal Relation Between Sculpture and Architecture: Classicizing Elements in Humanistic Leonardo Bruni’s Tomb”; “The Picturesque Landscape in Baroque Painting and Music”; “The Influence of Euclid’s Music Theory on Raphael’s Architectural Background of The School of Athens.” I participated in international conferences: SANART 2007 Ankara, Designtrain 2007 Amsterdam, IMCL 2007 Amman, GUIDE 2006 Rome, Crossing Borders 2006 Palermo, ANZAMEMZ 2005 New Zealand, PRESENCE 2003 Aalborg, and Art Education 1999 Cairo.


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