This is a surrealist painting by John Tunnard, who embraced British surrealism and was influenced by Herbert Read’s book, “Surrealism.” Read also wrote poetry. WWII had been underway for nearly five years when this painting was created, and its dark atmosphere is reminiscent of the dissenting response from artists and writers. “We’ll Meet Again,” sung by Vara Lynn, is one of the most well known songs of WWII and represents the sentiment of those whose loved ones were sent to the battlefield.

“But when they reached the burial place

the snow had ceased

and the winter sun

sinking red

disdained the level glittering plain.

A river of glowing light

poured into the open grave

all the light in the world

sank with his coffin

into the Russian earth.”

-Herbert Read, The Death of Kropotkin

John Tunnard (1901-1971), Last Day (1944)

Tags: Surrealism, War