'Merry-Go-Round' Painting – London, England - Atlas Obscura

'Merry-Go-Round' Painting

Tate Britain

A haunting painting meant to capture the calamity of World War I.  

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Hauntingly soulless figures, mounted atop horses on a brightly colored fairground carousel whirl around this painting. Some of the men featured are wearing regimental brass-buttoned and scarlet parade tunics worn by soldiers. It looks like a nightmarish dreamscape from a particularly disturbing episode of the Twilight Zone.

In April 1916, Mark Getler visited the annual fair in London’s Hampstead Heath. While there, he was particularly impressed by the sight of the carousel, or roundabout as they were called during the time.

At the time, WWI was in full swing and a state of hysteria was engulfing Europe. It’s believed that Getler’s painting entitled, Merry-Go-Round, was meant as an expression of his disdain for the war, the horror it created, and the societal indifference towards this phenomenon. It’s believed that he drew inspiration from a group of wounded soldiers he witnessed having a rowdy time at the fair. 

Know Before You Go

The painting can be found at the Tate Britain. 

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