Plowman, plowman, what of thy hands?
Recently, Danish political cartoons have created a firestorm of controversy all over the world. It shouldn’t be surprising that cartoons can evoke this sort of uproar; after all, back in the late 1800s Thomas Nast’s caricatures brought down Boss Tweed, and in the 1970s, Herb Block was a major thorn in Nixon’s side.
World War II was a prime era for political cartoonists. Passions ran high, and the whole world was at stake. Artists like Arthur Szyk and Boris Artzybasheff crystalized the passions and horrors of war in a way that speaks to us across the decades. Here is a selection of illustrations on the theme of war from Boris Artzybasheff’s book As I See.
In his introduction to the chapter entitled "Diablerie", Artzybasheff writes:
"Let’s sing hosannas to men this day, for theirs is the triumph of wit! In their long search for better tools and weapons, men at last have found the way of locking a pinch of cosmic force in a sheath of silver-white metal… as well as the means for making it go boom. Any time they wish, or think they must, men can touch off an orgasmic flash, making the oceans boil and seethe with fire, making the soil rise up in crimson dust… Perhaps after the cloud drifts thrice around it, the earth will emerge once more free of living things… In the hush of night this comely planet will go on waltzing in its ordained orbit until God awakens from His sleep and resolves it back to the primordial elements.
I try to shake this thought off; it may be that a healthy planet should have no more life upon it than a well-kept dog has fleas; but what posesses the flea to concoct its own flea powder?"
The Headless Horseman
In Pursuit of Zeros
Jet Propulsion: V-One
The Pied Piper of Berchtesgaden
The Balance of Power
The Triumph of Wit
The Witches’ Sabbath
Many people who read this blog aren’t aware that Animation Resources isn’t just a website… it is much more than that. We are archiving these images at high resolution for the use of students, artists and researchers. As an example, here is an image of Hitler’s eye from the image above at the full resolution of our archival scan…
This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit spotlighting Illustration.