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The military in British art, 1815-1914

In an age when engraving and photography were making artistic images available to a much wider public, artists were able to influence public attitudes more powerfully than ever before. This book examines works of art on military themes in relation to ruling-class ideologies about the army, war and the empire. The first part of the book is devoted to a chronological survey of battle painting, integrated with a study of contemporary military and political history. The chapters link the debate over the status and importance of battle painting to contemporary debates over the role of the army and its function at home and abroad. The second part discusses the intersection of ideologies about the army and military art, but is concerned with an examination of genre representations of soldiers. Another important theme which runs through the book is the relation of English to French military art. During the first eighty years of the period under review France was the cynosure of military artists, the school against which British critics measured their own, and the place from which innovations were imported and modified. In every generation after Waterloo battle painters visited France and often trained there. The book shows that military art, or the 'absence' of it, was one of the ways in which nationalist commentators articulated Britain's moral superiority. The final theme which underlies much of the book is the shifts which took place in the perception of heroes and hero-worship.

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Visual media and political conflict
Editors: Jens Eder and Charlotte Klonk

Still and moving images are crucial factors in contemporary political conflicts. They not only have representational, expressive or illustrative functions, but also augment and create significant events. Beyond altering states of mind, they affect bodies, and often life or death is at stake. Various forms of image operations are currently performed in the contexts of war, insurgency and activism. Photographs, videos, interactive simulations and other kinds of images steer drones to their targets, train soldiers, terrorise the public, celebrate protest icons, uncover injustices, or call for help. They are often parts of complex agential networks and move across different media and cultural environments. This book is a pioneering interdisciplinary study of the role and function of images in political life. Balancing theoretical reflections with in-depth case studies, it brings together renowned scholars and activists from different fields to offer a multifaceted critical perspective on a crucial aspect of contemporary visual culture.

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J.W.M. Hichberger

‘Of all the phases of Art, there is none so barren as the Military, and none in which English painters have found themselves so peculiarly abroad.’ 1 William Michael Rossetti’s comment summarises two related contemporary mythologies; that military art was a ‘barren’ area of activity and that British artists were unwilling and unable to work on the subject. These two beliefs were interwoven with the

in Images of the army
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Refracting control from virtual reality to the digital battlefield

89 Image operations: refracting control from virtual reality to the digital battlefield Timothy Lenoir and Luke Caldwell In the post-​Cold War era, the US military invested heavily in a makeover to replace the massive US ground forces of the post-​World War II era with smaller, more flexible organisational units typified by special operations forces and weapons systems that exploited the new information technologies: what military historian Max Boot called ‘a new American way of war’ grounded in ‘speed, maneuver, flexibility … precision firepower, special

in Image operations
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The seen unseen of drone warfare

/​11 attacks, to foster the research and development of drone technology. The result has been its deep integration into a largely US-​controlled global surveillance assemblage. Following some general observations on the game-​changing nature of drones and drone warfare, this chapter is going to attend more closely to the imaginary of the military and the weapons industry, to the ways in which drone warfare is visualised and marketed. Towards the end, the possibilities of a counter-​vision to the dominant drone gaze will be discussed. The game-​changing nature of drones and

in Image operations

‘Colonisation by discharged soldiers’, pronounced The Veteran in 1918, ‘is as old as time itself’. 1 And so it is. Throughout ancient history disbanded soldiers played a key role in the settlement and development of expanding empires. The Romans, for instance, expanded and consolidated their empire by employing a system of military colonisation. Tacitus, the Roman

in Unfit for heroes
J.W.M. Hichberger

This chapter will consider the meeting point between the civilian and military worlds. The numbers of domestic military genre paintings are comparatively large. 1 It is not possible to detail them all, nor would it be profitable to do so, since there is often remarkable similarity between them and a frequent repetition of motifs. It will be argued that despite this appearance of continuity in

in Images of the army
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J.W.M. Hichberger

The Crimean war (1854-56) was a watershed in civil-military relations. In previous wars, events had been followed only at some considerable distance, with the majority of the population aware of hostilities only in so far as they meant increased taxation or higher prices. During the forty years since Waterloo communications had reached new levels of speed and efficiency. The

in Images of the army
J.W.M. Hichberger

At the close of the Napoleonic wars in 1814, and a year later, after Waterloo, large numbers of soldiers were discharged and returned to Britain. There was little state provision for the care of veterans. A soldier who was wounded or disabled by military service was discharged: . . . with, if he were fortunate

in Images of the army
J.W.M. Hichberger

The intention in Part Two is to examine the ways in which themes connected with military experience were represented. Military genre paintings outnumber battle pictures by more than two to one. 1 Within limitations of space, therefore, a few pictures from the most popular catagories must indicate the issues which arise from the whole corpus of images. These images are

in Images of the army