The Unending Cult of Human Sacrifice

Catalogue number
  • Art.IWM ART 16717
Art and Popular Design
Production date
Subject period
  • Support: canvas
  • medium: oil
  • Support: Height 460 mm, Width 610 mm
  • Frame: Depth 45 mm, Height 609 mm, Width 760 mm
Alternative names
  • object category: painting

© IWM (Art.IWM ART 16717)

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Object description

image: A combination of a variety of images including Christ's crucifixion, robed priests, the Virgin Mary, St George leading troops into battle, heavy artillery and aircraft. Amongst the masses of troops and weaponry are bayonets pointing skywards in the foreground.


C R W Nevinson, The Unending Cult of Human Sacrifice (1934) In this painting, Nevinson combines religious and historical imagery with symbols of modern war. Hordes of medieval troops are led into battle alongside modern aircraft, machine guns and artillery, suggesting a near continuous cycle of conflict over the centuries. Five years after Nevinson painted this image, another world war began. The hopes of a popular anti-war movement in 1930s Britain were ultimately shattered.

History note

This may have been exhibited in the Redfern Gallery's ‘Twenty-five years of paintings by C.R.W. Nevinson’ (February 1937)

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