Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Art Amidst the Mustard Gas, Cont’d

March 9th, 2012 · 4 Comments

One of the very first Microkhan posts was about so-called trench art, a catch-all term for the artifacts that (usually ill-fated) soldiers created during their World War I downtime. It’s a genre I love dearly because it basically amounts to a big middle finger to madness—a way for the cannon fodder to achieve some small measure of victory over the heartless machine hurtling them to their deaths. Also, the geek in me can’t help but admire the technical skill that went into creating such intricate baubles.

I was overjoyed, then, to stumble across a whole new field of trench art: handpainted helmets, many of which betray their wearers as deft with the brush. Wish I could find a larger compendium of examples, but The Tubes are yielding little this morning. I have to figure that upon returning safe-and-sound from the Western Front, many veterans tossed their beautifully painted gear; I can certainly understand how one might not wish to be constantly reminded of such a shattering experience.

Rare American examples of the craft here and here, though I suspect that the latter helmet was at least partially restored after the guns fells silent.


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