Unlike many national events, Remembrance Day comes around each year with a quiet sort of dignity.

No great fanfare, no build up and no complaints. The small red poppies descend on our lapels like the Autumn leaves they coincide with - gradually, acknowledged with a silent, sometimes solemn approval.

war War, or the Ride of Discord (circa 1894), Henri Rousseau


But for artists the issue of war - how we justify it, how we make sense of it, how, in some cases, we condemn it altogether - looms as large as love and demands to be shouted about just as loudly, from Peter Paul Rubens's returning heroes to the anguished figures of Picasso's Guernica.

To mark the build up to this year's Remembrance Day we've gathered 25 of the most powerful artworks ever to have been inspired by war, not in an attempt to analyse them all over again or order them by preference, but to experience them as a collective tribute to the horrors and sacrifices we pause to remember at this time of year.


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  • The War (1952)

    The War (1952) Pablo Picasso <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/the-war-pablo-picasso/">ArtFinder</a>

  • The Cigarette, from 'The War' series (1918)

    The Cigarette, from 'The War' series (1918) George Bellows <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/the-cigarette-from-the-war-series-george-bellows/">ArtFinder</a>

  • War, or the Ride of Discord (circa 1894)

    War, or the Ride of Discord (circa 1894) Henri Rousseau <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/war-or-the-ride-of-discord-henri-jf-rousseau/"> ArtFinder</a>

  • Red Cross Nurses attending to Wounded Soldiers during the 1st World War (20th century)

    Red Cross Nurses attending to Wounded Soldiers during the 1st World War (20th century) <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/red-cross-nurses-attending-to-wounded-soldiers-during-the-1st-wo/"> ArtFinder</a>

  • The Return from War: Mars Disarmed by Venus (1610-2)

    The Return from War: Mars Disarmed by Venus (1610-2) Peter Paul Rubens <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/the-return-from-war-mars-disarmed-by-venus-peter-paul-rubens/">ArtFinder</a>

  • Allegory of Peace and Justice after the Thirty Years' War (1649)

    Allegory of Peace and Justice after the Thirty Years' War (1649) <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/allegory-of-peace-and-justice-after-the-thirty-years-war-theodor/">ArtFinder</a>

  • Scenes from the Spanish War (19th century)

    Scenes from the Spanish War (19th century) Francisco Goya <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/scenes-from-the-spanish-war-francisco-jose-de-goya-y-lucientes/">ArtFinder</a>

  • War (1932)

    Otto Dix <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/war-otto-dix/">ArtFinder</a>

  • Village Massacre, from 'The War' series (1918)

    Village Massacre, from 'The War' series (1918) George Bellows <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/village-massacre-from-the-war-series-george-bellows/"> ArtFinder</a>

  • Peace and War

    Peace and War Émile Jean-Horace Vernet <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/peace-and-war-emile-jean-horace-vernet/">ArtFinder</a>

  • Fredericksburg family in a war torn house (19th century)

    Fredericksburg family in a war torn house (19th century) <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/fredericksburg-family-in-a-war-torn-house/"> ArtFinder</a>

  • Boer War, 1900 - 1901 - Last Summer Things Were Greener

    Boer War, 1900 - 1901 - Last Summer Things Were Greener John Byam Liston Shaw <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/boer-war-1900-1901-last-summer-things-were-greener-john-byam-lis/">ArtFinder</a>

  • The Judgement of Paris and the Trojan War (1540)

    The Judgement of Paris and the Trojan War (1540) By Matthias Gerung <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/the-judgement-of-paris-and-the-trojan-war-matthias-gerung/">ArtFinder</a>

  • War Orphan (1953)

    War Orphan (1953) Josef Breitenbach <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/war-orphan-josef-breitenbach/">ArtFinder</a>

  • Emblems of the Civil War (1888)

    Emblems of the Civil War (1888) Alexander Pope <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/emblems-of-the-civil-war-alexander-pope/">ArtFinder</a>

  • The Goose Detachment’s Triumphant Return – Sino-Japanese War Series No. 1) (1965

    <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/the-goose-detachments-triumphant-return-sino-japanese-war-series/">ArtFinder</a>

  • End of The Journey, Southend (1905)

    Thomas Robert Way <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/end-of-the-journey-southend-thomas-robert-way/">ArtFinder</a>

  • The Re-Birth of the Arts' The eleventh of 12 subjects by assorted artists for the series 'The Ideals' for "The Great War: Britain's Efforts and Ideals"

    <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/the-re-birth-of-the-arts-the-eleventh-of-12-subjects-by-assorted/">ArtFinder</a>

  • War (1883)

    War (1883) Anna Lea Merritt <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/war-anna-lea-merritt/">ArtFinder</a>

  • Home from the War, from 'Harper's Weekly' magazine

    Winslow Homer <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/home-from-the-war-from-harpers-weekly-magazine-published-june-13/">ArtFinder</a>

  • Partly dismasted British man-of-war being driven onto rocks in a storm, with another standing off (circa 1798 - 1805)

    <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/partly-dismasted-british-man-of-war-being-driven-onto-rocks-in-a/">ArtFinder</a>

  • This is the truth

    Francisco Goya <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/esto-es-lo-verdadero-this-is-the-truth-los-desastres-de-la-guerr/">ArtFinder</a>

  • War in the Air (1918)

    Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/war-in-the-air-christopher-richard-wynne-nevinson/">ArtFinder</a>

  • Sino-Japanese War

    Sino-Japanese War <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/sino-japanese-war-detail/">ArtFinder</a>

  • Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War? (1915)

    <a href="http://www.artfinder.com/work/daddy-what-did-you-do-in-the-great-war/">ArtFinder</a>