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Image: ​War Art with Eddie Redmayne
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​War Art with Eddie Redmayne

War is a compelling stimulus to the imagination, creating some of our richest and most powerful artistic inspiration. In this documentary produced by Foxtrot Films, Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne takes an intensely emotional journey, visiting artists' studios, museums and travelling to battlefield locations to shine a powerful light into the abyss of warfare, where War Artists have left a unique legacy.

Redmayne, who studied History of Art at Cambridge University, meets contemporary war artists, soldiers and historians and travels to Flanders where he comes face to face with reminders of the fallen.

"I have attempted as an actor to play someone from the First World War and of course when prepping you do as much research as you can. You try and imagine what it was like to be living like that, to be on the ground. But with that period I have always found it impossible - not photography, nor accounts could really ever capture that horror. But for me it was the Art and all sides of that Art, people trying to depict the undepictable that perhaps came closest." Redmayne

Redmayne meets contemporary war artists to see how this art form is as vital now as it ever was, including George Butler (Syria) and Graeme Lothian (Afghanistan), reportage artist Julia Midgley and official war artist Peter Howson (Bosnia), whose work was censored.

"The war artists were not just observing the conflict, their inventiveness also played a part in helping to fight the enemy. My film uncovers the innovation, bravery and creativity of the war artists, showing work never before seen on film, some of which was censored by the authorities which had commissioned it. I was interested in the many artefacts, like long lost sketchbooks, left behind to help us to piece together the picture, one hundred years later." Director Margy Kinmonth

War Art with Eddie Redmayne will screen on ITV on Sunday 24 May 22:35pm.

Peter Howson's solo exhibition Demokratia is on display at Flowers Gallery, Kingsland Road until 16 May.

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