United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The Painter and the Clipper, 1940
The Art and Politics of Arthur Szyk
wartime caricaturist

St. George, 1940
Battle of Britain
Szyk drawing St. George and the Dragon
[USHMM #94615/Gift of Alexandra and Joseph Braciejowski;
Original materials: Graphite, colored pencil, and ink on paper;
Original dimensions: 8 1/4" x 11 9/16"]

The Painter and the Clipper, 1940
In May 1940, German troops invaded France and the Low Countries, defeating those nations within weeks. Great Britain, with only the remnants of its former allies’ armies, fought alone against the Nazi threat. Szyk’s devotion to the Allied cause is aptly shown in this image of Great Britain valiantly fighting alone to clip the growing Nazi menace to world peace. He portrayed Hitler as a failed artist who turned his talents to mass murder and destruction.


 
St. George, 1940
[USHMM #93729/National Library of Canada/Bibliotheque nationale du Canada, Ottawa; Photoreproduction from Ottawa Evening Citizen, September 5, 1940]
St. George, 1940
St. George and the dragon is a frequent motif in Szyk’s iconography, symbolizing the battle between the forces of good and evil. In this modern adaptation of the medieval legend, St. George is a British ‘Tommy’ slaying the Nazi dragon, thereby rescuing the enchained figure of Europa.


 
[Historical film footage:
Battle of Britain

Dover, Great Britain
Date uncertain

English

Playing time 1:58

ABC News Videosource ]


After the defeat of France in June 1940, Germany moved to gain air superiority over Great Britain as a prelude to an invasion of Britain. Despite months of air attacks, Germany was not able to destroy Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF). In the fall of 1940, the invasion was indefinitely postponed. The German bombing campaign against Britain continued until May 1941. The Germans ultimately halted the air attacks primarily because of preparations for the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.


 
Szyk drawing St. George and the Dragon
[USHMM #N07585/Irvin Ungar through the Arthur Szyk Society]

Arthur Szyk drawing St. George and the Dragon.


Introduction
Jewish Artist
Action-not Pity
Szyk resources
Action-not Pity
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