Menin Gate At Midnight (1927) – Will Longstaff

Will Longstaff’s depiction of the Menin Gate war memorial in Ypres (also known as Ghosts of Menin Gate) forms part of a collection at The Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The composition captures the spirits of soldiers marching in unison across a cornfield under an indigo evening sky. After attending the unveiling of Menin Gate in July 1927, Longfield claimed to have had an apparition of the steel-helmeted troops. The artist went home to London and completed his tribute in one sitting. The red poppies in the foreground represent the blood shed during World War I and the limestone memorial on the left shows a dark, sinister entrance. Buildings are dotted upon the far horizon (with intermittent light) suggesting that the area is under close scrutiny.

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