Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ghosts At Vimy

This is not one of my shots, but instead is taken from the museum's catalogue site, since the painting in question is currently not on display. The painting is called The Ghosts Of Vimy Ridge, by the Australian artist William Longstaff. It depicts Walter Allward's memorial in France at night, with the ghosts of the dead rising from the ruined earth around the ridge. Longstaff painted this at some point in 1929-1930, years before the memorial was finished in 1936, while the land still bore the scars of the battle, but he knew what the finished monument would look like. The canvas had been displayed in Regeneration Hall for several years. At present, it is in the vaults for awhile, as another Vimy-related painting is hanging in its place. I have seen Ghosts Of Vimy Ridge many times, and it is huge... and haunting to behold. It's one of my favourite works of art.

Canadian War Museum Collection


  1. It is a powerful painting, extraordinarily evocative.

  2. Striking! Awe-some!

    ALOHA from Honolulu
    =^..^= . <3

  3. That is indeed extraordinary evocative; having been there, I can almost picture it. Wow - I'd like to see that - and can quite understand why it would be one of your favourite works of art.

  4. The world of ghosts always been mysterious and ... afraid.


  5. What a great painting, and I'm affraid it's still topical.

  6. ... I'm getting goosebumps already.

  7. A formidable painting, but the scene is a bit scary...

  8. A strange and fascinating painting!

  9. It should be on display all the says more about war than anything I can think of.
    Jane x

  10. It is very haunting, as it should be.

  11. @Denise: it's something I can stare at and find new things every time.

    @Cloudia: thank you.

    @Mike: it is quite a contrast from the painting currently occupying its spot. I'll have to photograph that one when I get in there next.

    @Tomas: indeed.

    @Jan: it is.

    @Birdman: that seems to be a common effect.

    @Spiderdama: very powerful.

  12. @Deb: very much so.

    @Karl: it is, yes.

    @Tanya: thanks!

    @VP: I find it's both.

    @EG: it's a painting that really speaks to me.

    @Jane and Chris: it does serve that purpose.

    @Revrunner: quite so.

  13. curious - did i miss why it is not on display? is on loan or? ( :
    so wild. remind me of something?? i have to check my brain why? i rather enjoy it as well.

  14. I agree, it is very haunting to view. I enlarged it to see the details.

  15. You definitely have to enlarge it, it's fantastic!

  16. Wow! That is a thought provoking work of art. Haunting is the right word for it.

  17. @Tex: definitely.

    @Beth: I hadn't heard anything about it being on loan to anyone- usually there would be a small notice where a painting usually resides about it being on loan- so I'm assuming it's either undergoing some conserving work, or being given some rest in the vaults. It'll probably be back on display before the centennial of the battle.

    @Sharon: I was pleased that it enlarges so well.

    @Jose: it is.

    @Jen: quite so.

    @Judy: it fascinated me from the moment I first saw it.

  18. Wow, this is quite dramatic work! Feels like I can almost hear the voices of the ghosts! I hope it'll go back on must have much more impact to see it the actual painting on my own eyes.

  19. Definitely a moving photo/painting. Would love to see up close.

  20. I understand why it's one of your favorite works!

  21. I wish we would learn from the horrors of WWI. The land still bears the scars, believe it or not, a century later. There have been aerial photos taken and in some places in Eastern France you can clearly see where the trenches were/the shells ripped earth open... It is a very striking painting.

  22. fascinating and powerful

  23. @Tamago: it does have that voices of the past speaking to you effect.

    @Bibi: I look forward to seeing it displayed again.

    @Marleen: Longstaff did wonderful work with how he composed the painting.

    @Linda: indeed.

    @Cheryl: certain works of art have that kind of effect on people.

    @Ciel: and to think there are places where unexploded ordnance still lingers.

    @RedPat: the museum has a good number of war art, but this is the one that really stays with me.

    @Tahiti: thank you!

    @Norma: it stands out.

    @Stuart: and profound too.

  24. There is a whole genre of photography dedicated to ghost images. Maybe worth exploring

  25. Oooh, ghosts! Coincidentally I picked up a book at the library today called Battlefield Ghosts. It covers some places here in Virginia that I want to read about.

  26. Very impression and emotionally draining!

    Love your new header photo!

    Thanx for your funny comment about your Mormon roommate. Great stuff!

  27. Do we ever really understand the sacrifices made and achievements accomplished in wars? Art seems a way to continue to process the intensity of past wars.

  28. It's a wonderful painting William, would love to see it for real, incredibly emotive. William Longstaff was brilliant, have you seen his Ghosts of Menin Gate?

  29. Yes. They still find some on a regular basis though more from WWII than WWI nowadays...

  30. @Mo: this one's an absolute stunner.

    @Linda: I have to get thinking of my Hallowe'en post.

    @Kay: it certainly is.

    @Randy: it's quite a work of art.

    @Lowell: I wonder what ever became of that guy.

    @ODP: it does, yes.

    @Grace: I have only seen it in pictures.

    @Ciel: that's true, and the ground occasionally gives up the dead.