The Cycle of Terror and Tragedy  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
new figurative art

The Cycle of Terror and Tragedy: September 11, 2001 is a painting by Graydon Parrish.

In 2002, Douglas Hyland, the director of the New Britain Museum of Art, approached Graydon Parrish to create an allegorical tribute to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. The completed painting, The Cycle of Terror and Tragedy, is over 18 feet long and is one of the largest realist paintings ever created in America. However, it has become somewhat controversial, both for its unabashedly academic style, inspired both by Jacques Louis David and William Bouguereau, and for its highly symbolic content, said to express the cycle of denial and tragedy. It has been compared and contrasted with Pablo Picasso’s Guernica and Gericault’s The Raft of the Medusa, both comments on catastrophes. Today it hangs in the Chase Wing of the New Britain Museum of Art next to figurative pieces by Julie Heffernan and Chuck Close. It has become a regular destination and subject of debate for New England residents. It is also scheduled to tour in early 2010.

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