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[Detail] A French officer and his British ally at the front read the New York Times.

Sculpture and Its Use as Propaganda and Memorial

Sculpture is three-dimensional art, in which forms are created through modeling, molding, carving, casting, or construction. Like other art forms, sculpture can express ideas and can thus be used as propaganda (i.e., disseminated to advance an idea or doctrine at the expense of an opposing idea or doctrine). Sculpture is commonly used in memorials, objects or sites built to honor people or events.

Examine Chiattone’s sculpture “The Agony of Belgium” and answer the questions that follow:

  • How does the sculpture illustrate the destructive nature of the war on Belgians?
  • What emotions does the sculpture invoke?
  • Does the sculpture convey a message? If so, what is the message?
  • Would you consider this sculpture as pro-Allied propaganda? As a memorial? Explain your answers.

The collection contains photographs of a number of sculptures that served as memorials or parts of memorials. Examine the memorials shown on the pages below:

Choose an event in World War I (you can use the Timeline provided with the collection to identify an important event). Search the collection for photographs and news about the event. Then use what you have learned from studying the memorials listed above to design a sculpture to serve as a memorial honoring the event.

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