A Sticky Situation: Relief of The Light Brigade

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Richard Caton Woodville, Relief of The Light Brigade, 1897
A Sticky Situation: Peril in Painting
Curated By GARY WHITTAKER

Charge, charge noble 600. No wait not over there, over there (pointing to set of cannons on the other side of the valley). Blast, they've charged at the wrong guns.

That was, in brief, what happened during that fateful Crimean day. Although, what can be expected of serving under inbred fools who purchased their commissions in the Royal Army? But, let us venture into analysis of the painting at hand. It follows the typical military hero painting guide: Cavalry, check. Heroic hand gestures, check. Stupid looking death faces, check. An inflated sense of what actually occurred, CHECK. The main purpose of this type of art is to commemorate a person or event of historical note. While the Charge of the Light Brigade did indeed happen, it was little more than a grave military blunder. The real impact came when the dispatches reached London. Public outrage at the officers involved soared as did celebration of the enlisted men. The Brits sure love a heroic slaughter.

The action of the painting revolves around the two horsemen in the center. One a British hussar, the other a Russian artilleryman. The white horse of the Brit forces the viewer to look at the one non-earth toned object in sight. Remain parts of the painting are rather dull, perhapase= good for funny little captions, but now is not the time to do so.

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