Bacchanale from War Series

George Bellows American
Published by George Bellows American

Not on view

Bellows evokes the long visual tradition of the bacchanal, orgiastic drunken festivities celebrating the Roman god Bacchus and a scene numerous artists have engaged over the centuries. Yet his is a savage scene of murder, mutilation, and sadism rather than celebration. The print belongs to his War Series, a response to published reports of atrocities committed by the German army begun during the August 1914 invasion of Belgium. Bellows opposed American involvement until he learned details of those events. He insisted that the series was addressed to those who committed the atrocities (and not the German people more generally), writing that "against that guilty clique and all its tools, who organized and let loose upon innocence every diabolical device and insane instinct, my hatred goes forth, together with my profound reverence for the victims."

Bacchanale from War Series, George Bellows (American, Columbus, Ohio 1882–1925 New York), Lithograph

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