Dose of Art #45: John Singer Sargent – Gassed (1919)

When I worked in Belgium a couple of years ago, we visited the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ieper. It is a museum about the Great War (1913-1918) and is named after the famous poem by Canadian John McCrae:

In Flanders fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

One photo, in particular, made a big impression; it showed a field with dead soldiers after a gas attack. John Singer Sargent painted a scene showing the survivors of such an attack.

Powerful as it is, it pales in comparison to the heartbreaking letters, photos. Poems and novels the soldiers left behind and that will keep the memory to this war and the people who fought and died in it, alive.