George Washinton Lambert
While encountering Sidney Long’s prints (previous 3 postings) in Australia I stumbled over this great and intriguing painting: “ANZACS”. This title not immediately ringing bells, living on the other side of the planet and a century later. Three bathing young men and a donkey. Great bleus. At first I thought it to be by Sorolla (Joaquim Sorolla i Bastida 1863 - 1923) Next 4 examples are, from an immense number of great paintings.
|Bano del caballo (the bathing of the horse)|
ANZACS the combined Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The scene: Gallipoli beach, later renamed Anzac Cove.
Churchill’s plan opening an eastern front in a desperate attempt changing the balance of WWI after the disastrous stale mate in Flanders Fields. Attacking the Turks (allies of Germany) in Mythological Hellespont. The Dardanelles, the narrow strait between Turkey and Europe. Homer land.
Thousands of young allied men, marching, farewells said, shipped, fighting and being killed to glory like Homers Heroes on the same mythological shores of the Sea of Marmara. Lambert made several sketches and paintings of the place afterwards.
Lambert probably painted “ANZACS” with the help of photographs and imagination. In London in 1916. Even the (stranded) troups ship (right upper) can be seen. As well as details in the cliff’s face. See the picture of John Simpson with donkey below. Three men bathing like Greek Gods probably on May 30th, five days after the actual landing. As recorded by his friend, eyewitness and poet Arthur Adams.
“No legend lured these men to roam;
They journeyed forth to save from harm,
Some Mother-Helen sad at home,
Some obscure Helen on a farm”.
The soldier saving his wounded fellow soldiers from the battle field with the help of his donkey was John Simpson until he was machine gunned himself. He posthumously received the Victoria Cross for heroic gallantry and the Legend continues to this day. Like Homers. ANZAC day (25th April) a national holiday in Australia and New Zealand. I didn’t know.
Now I do and and shalln't forget.