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In this apocalyptic image, an exploding shell illuminates the battlefield like a star. Nevinson had been closely associated with the Futurist and Vorticist movements, which celebrated the machine age, but his wartime paintings bear witness to the destructive power of technology. Here the man-made explosion lends the landscape a visionary quality. This is almost certainly one of the works Nevinson painted in 1916, after he was invalided out of the Royal Army Medical Corps.

August 2008