Monday, 26 May 2008


On Sunday I had the pleasure of visiting the Tate Britain and saw many wonderful work of art. One caught my eye and following the guide's insightful speal, left me with a lasting impression. This was 'Merry Go Round' by Mark Gertler, painted in 1916The work was painted at the height of the First World War, which seems to be its subject. Men and women in rigid poses, their mouths crying in silent togetherness, seem trapped on a carousel that revolves in perpetual motion. Gertler was a conscientious objector, who lived in London at the time of the First World War. He dwelled in Hampsted Heath where a local funfair was often attended by wounded soldiers, providing inspiration for Gaitler's work. The fairground ride, traditionally associated with fun and entertainment, is horrifically transformed into a metaphor for the relentless military machine.
Notice the ghost like figure of the horses with their pale deathy figures. Do they and the almost human figures represent the dead?
Does the top of the merry go round represent a bomb shell?
Do the horse's legs represent canons on the front legs and rifles on the rear legs?
The horses are not connected to the ride, therefore does this represent a detatchment of the people from the war machine?
Do the clouds represent an explosion with their highly unusual formation?
I think this is a fantastic work that captures his anti-war sentiment with exceptional detail and visual impact.



Anonymous said...

Good interpretation Pikey. If you squint one eye and look at the picture as a whole the horse's legs seem to become ajoined to the the heads of the people below which not only gives an illusion of fluency and an almost a 2-dimentional factor but also looks like soldiers marching. See if you can see it too. Almost like one of those optical illusion pictures.

mikethepikey said...

Yeah cheers who ever this is..
I like your observation and see exactly what you mean. Its such an interesting work.
You have any favourite paintings or a blog for me to check perhaps?