Studying this work by CRW Nevinson, ‘Rain and Mud After the Battle’ brought to mind a poem by Edward Thomas from 1916, called ‘Rain’:
Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain
7 January, 1916
While we can interpret Thomas’s words ‘myriads of broken reeds all stiff and still’ to refer to the loss of so many men, it was Nevinson’s use of a palette knife to create the slanted, sharp lines of the rain that brought those lines to mind:
You can almost hear the sounds of the rain against all that mud; the unrelenting, icy touch as it hits the ground, churned up by the battle that has now ended.
Although the scene is devoid of the human element, you cannot fail to be moved by the bleakness of this scene with the images of the blasted trees illuminated against the graduated grey sky. As a metaphor for the loss of life that took place, this is a powerful work.