U.S. Army To Unveil a Collection of Soldiers' War Paintings -- posted by Florida Fine Art Blog



"Art of the American Soldier" is a new exhibition of about 300 paintings by U.S. servicemen and women that will be unveiled to the public for the first time at Philadelphia's National Constitution Center in September. The paintings have been selected from about 15,000 collected by the U.S. Army since the 1840s. Most have never been on public display.  The paintings all focus on the duties, sacrifices, and everyday lives of troops, and covers every conflict from WWI, to Iraq and Afghanistan.


The show includes four oil paintings by Master Sgt. Martin Cervantez, a combat artist who spent 90 days in Afghanistan in 2008 recording the experiences of soldiers on active duty. Cervantez worked from some 18,000 photos but argued that photographic evidence is no substitute for the personal experience of the artist who is also a soldier. "The public needs to see this because it's from the soldier's perspective," he said.

The exhibition will give visitors a clearer understanding of war at a time when more troops are in Afghanistan fighting the longest war in U.S. history and public support is wavering, said David Eisner, chief executive of the National Constitution Center. Eisner argued that the center is an appropriate setting for the show because U.S. soldiers take an oath to defend the Constitution, whose stated purpose is to secure liberty for American citizens.

"It's important that we understand that what the soldiers are fighting for is the framework of our democracy," he said. The exhibition is also designed to enable active and retired servicemen and women to give their relatives a realistic view of their experience of war.

"If a soldier takes his family to the museum, I want them to be able to say, 'That's what it was like,'" Cervantez said.

The show runs from September 24 to January 10, 2011 and will then tour other U.S. cities. GL

Philadelphia's National Constitution Center
Article in Army Times

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