New heroes
in Images of the army
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The Crimean war was used as evidence of the aristocracy's 'unfitness' to rule the army. The British painter Louis William Desanges was important, as Thomas Jones Barker had been, in assimilating French military art into British subject matter. Desanges working for a middle-class audience, transformed middle class gentlemen into 'god-like' military heroes. Desanges' intention was to depict the incidents which had won the Victoria Cross for its holders. The inability of either Barker or Desanges to gain admittance to the Royal Academy suggests that there was still resistance to their genre at a number of levels. Desanges was an aspirant History painter, competing unsuccessfully in the Westminster Hall competition. The deficiencies of various strands of battle painting had been identified in the context of the Palace of Westminster competitions. In Academic art, representations of the rebellion in genre scenes outnumbered battle paintings.

Images of the army

The military in British art, 1815-1914


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