Eric Kennington (1888-1960)
The War God
The War God (1933-1935)
English painter, printmaker and sculptor, Eric Kennington was born in Chelsea, London on 12 March 1888. The son of painter Thomas Kennington. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1908.
He made 'The War God' more than 15 years after the end of World War One. It demonstrates the extent to which the war continued to traumatise those who had served.
Kennington fought on the 'Western Front' but was badly wounded and was sent home in June 1915.
During his convalescence he produced 'The Kensingtons at Laventie'. A portrait of exhausted infantrymen. First shown in 1916, when it created a sensation.
Kennington was invalided out of the British Army. In August, 1917, he was employed by the War Propaganda Bureau. After the war he also designed many war memorials.
In the 1920's Kennington became a friend of T.E. Lawrence and travelled to Arabia where he would draw portraits of Arab leaders, used in the illustration of Lawrence's book: 'Seven pillars of wisdom' (1926).
Kennington was also an official artist during World War II. During this war he worked mainly in pastel.
In 1959, he was elected a full member of the Royal Academy.
He died aged 72 in Reading, Berkshire: 14 April 1960.
Article By: Dave Roberts.
First Published: 2007.
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