Combat on Canvas

Art and artifacts from the Marine front lines, now on display in Washington.



(Eric Long, NASM)

“When we go out,” says Staff Sergeant Kristopher Battles, one of the Marine Corps’ current combat artists, “we take with us not only our weapons, armor, helmet, food and water, but also our cameras, sketchbooks, and watercolors. If you’re on patrol, you’re walking in patrol order and you’re basically trying to keep your eyes open, and you’re also looking for images, believe it or not. You’re noticing how the sun may glint off of something, or there’s a good composition, while at the same time, of course, you’re trying to spot someone who’s not so friendly.” Staff Sergeant Battles’ art supplies, shown here, have traveled with him to Iraq and Afghanistan, and back to the National Museum of the Marine Corps, in Quantico, Virginia, where each combat artist has a studio.

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