Violence in Art

Essay by zoemmHigh School, 12th grade September 2014

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Zoe Mattis


AP Art History


Banksy's Bomb Hugger and Kollwitz's The Sacrifice both take a look at the violence of war; one of the hope and one of the hopelessness that can be found in it. Both artists focus on the effects of violence rather than the violence itself.

Bomb Hugger shows a young girl hugging a bomb. The bomb is obviously a symbol of violence-particularly the violence of war. Her image, which reflects civilian life and innocence, is juxtaposed with the massive military weapon in her arms. This is a common theme in Banksy's art: He combines images of peace with violence/war. Banksy also challenges typically accepted beliefs. This could be his way of challenging the usual views of war that are presented by the media (promote, freedom, democracy, peace, etc.) and presenting the violent and darker nature of war.

The Sacrifice, part of Kollwitz's War series, shows a mother holding up her child.

This portfolio is comprised of black and white woodcuts showing those left behind and affected by the violence of war. Kollwitz focuses primarily on mothers - a reference to her personal experience. Because of the title, the viewer can assume that the mother in this piece is sacrificing her child, presumably to war. It condemns the Nationalism and "for the greater good" mentality. Kollwitz is displaying the effects of the violence as she personally felt them, and, in a way, personifying them.

These artists display their personal views of violence and war by showing corruption of innocence: The corruption of a young girl and a mother/baby. They show the artist's disgust with the violence they see.