Otto Dix seems to cry out through his images: 'Trust me. This is what really happened. I was there.' After volunteering for the German army at the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 he was sent to the Western Front and fought as a lance corporal in a field artillery regiment in Champagne, Artois, and the Somme. As an eyewitness to some of the most horrific events of the First World War, he is putting them on the record: these soldiers were actually buried alive; this is what dying from poison gas was like; this is what a dead horse looks like; these were the expressions on the faces of the wounded. This image is reminiscent of plate 69 in Goya's series, The disasters of war, which Goya titled, '"Nothing!" That is what it says'.
See plate 69 in Goya's series, The disasters of war at bridgeman.co.uk
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010