Fighting History

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Fighting History
John Singleton Copley, 'The Death of Major Peirson, 6 January 1781', 1783. © Tate

Think history painting was just a conventional method for artists to portray righteous narratives, think again. Tate Britain’s summer blockbuster covers not only the morally minded large-scale works of John Singleton Copley but also the socially conscious works of Richard Hamilton and Jeremy Deller. Once considered the zenith of an artist’s success, history painting doesn’t always look back, it also celebrates both heroic and tragic events and gives an artist the means to voice opinion on decisions of the state. Here, traditional and contemporary visions of historical events, classical periods and political dilemmas collide for our reflective contemplation. It’s a battle worth being a part of.

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