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The Red Cross
The Red Cross

Photo credit: De Morgan Collection

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This painting is considered one of De Morgan’s most successful ones on the theme of war. The painting shows the figure of the risen Christ being borne heavenward by a choir of angels. He is symbolically clad in red and his arms are extended in a posture meant to recall his crucifixion. Below him lies a Belgian field of seemingly endless white memorial crosses marking the graves of the war dead. The identification of the fallen soldiers with Christ is clear and the notion of redemption is unequivocal. De Morgan’s painting was inspired by, or is certainly in sympathy with Emil Cammaert’s poem 'A Voice in the Desert' (1915) that describes the bleak landscape on devastated Belgium that has become dotted with wooden crosses. Of all De Morgan’s war paintings, it is also perhaps her most conventional in its use of Christian/Biblical iconography.

Title

The Red Cross

Date

1914–1916

Medium

oil on canvas

Measurements

H 85 x W 59.5 cm

Accession number

P_EDM_0054

Acquisition method

gift

Work type

Painting

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De Morgan Collection

England

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