Saturday, 21 January 2012

Hitler Moves East - war in miniature

I remember coming across David Levinthal's work with miniatures when I was at University. He is most famous for his fine art photographs exploring the themes of voyeurism, pop culture and media in America with the use of miniatures. However, it was only recently that I discovered his collaborative book Hitler Moves East: A Graphic Chronicle, 1941-43 (with Garry Trudeau) on the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

I would like to think I am fairy familiar with photographs of miniatures, but it took me a moment to clock that the Wehrmacht soldiers in this book are all tiny models. The authors studied archival material from the period in order to capture the look of vintage photographs. They cleverly hide their subjects' scale by playing with blurring, exposure and cropping. Their images have the look of the hurried snaps taken by a twitchy combat photographer from the German press corps.

I was struck by the similarities between Hitler Moves East, and the Chapman Brothers' Hell sculpture. It seems war (and in particular the atrocities of the Second World War) hold a fasination for artists working in miniature. The very male interests of conflict, collection and cataloguing are able to explored very satisfyingly through military miniatures.



  1. Great post , New to his work so again thanks. Also reminds me of the halo 3 monument work .

  2. i always thought hell was wasted as a fine art statement - should have been a wargames army - it would have an intrinsic life then - need a russian church peasant army to fight ......

  3. @Neil101 - Had to google that - it looks amazing!
    @J.B. - Have you seen their toy-soldier versions of Goya's drawings? I found those riveting.

  4. Fantastic stuff, reminds me of when I was 8 and we went to Hamley's during a daytrip to London. They had an enormous display of 15mm WWII miniature battlefield. To this day I've never seen anything like it, or as well done.

  5. This gives me some ideas for 40k