Benjamin West, 1738- 1820, The Battle of La Hogue, c. 1778
- 100% Silk
- Hand Rolled
- Designed and Printed in Britain
- 42cm x 42cm
In this painting, West depicts the Battle of La Hogue, part of the War of the Grand Alliance in 1692. It focuses on the drama and tension of the battle while featuring several moments that occurred at different times within the same scene, typical of West’s art. Standing in a boat at the left, for instance, Vice Admiral George Rooke embodies heroic command with his upright posture and raised sword. Yet, in order to survey the maneuvers, he undoubtedly gave orders from a distance. Beached in the center distance is the French flagship, the Royal Sun. Actually burned and sunk a few days before this encounter, the Royal Sun is here deliberately refloated - only to be run against the cliffs to symbolise the French defeat. This complex, multi-figured panorama is an excellent example of West's influential early style, and of the balanced designs and carefully blended brushwork of eighteenth-century neoclassicism.
The painting’s colours are muted yet dramatic – we see the various uniform colours of reds and blues, the dramatic darker colours of the burning ships behind and the ominous grey-blue of the sea. West has depicted the distress on the faces of drowning soldiers, evoking the intensity of the moment. The scene is chaotic, as war often is, and the varied imagery blends together beautifully in a medley of conflict and desperation.The intricate border design will enable striking point folds.
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