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Art in troubled times

Many powerful images have been created by artists living through periods of upheaval or brutality and by those simply determined to cast light on the dark side of human existence.

1819 - 1823

Art in troubled times

Black Paintings - Goya

Goya painted these fourteen images directly on to the walls of his house. He was in his 70s, deaf and pessimistic about his own health and the future of Spain which had been ravaged by Napoleon’s invasion and the Peninsular War.

1832 - 1845

Art in troubled times

The Indian Gallery - George Catlin

George Catlin painted hundreds of portraits of the Native Americans he believed were doomed to extinction. The art that Native Americans made themselves recorded their plight from a different perspective: how the West was lost.


Art in troubled times

War Triptych - Otto Dix

Otto Dix spent three years in the trenches of WW1 and the sketches he made fed into this powerful triptych. More than ten years after the end of the war, he was still reliving the nightmare he had witnessed.

1942 - 1944

Art in troubled times

Art in Theresienstadt

Friedl Dicker-Brandeis was an Austrian art teacher deported by the Nazis to the Theresienstadt ghetto in 1942. She gave lessons to the children there and 4,500 pieces of the art they made survived the war.

born 1969

Art in troubled times

Kara Walker

The African-American artist Kara Walker explores issues of race, gender, sexuality and violence in her work. She grew up in the shadow of Stone Mountain, Atlanta, birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan and the site of a huge confederate monument cut into the mountainside.