One of Tzarev's Love & Peace flowers, on display in Prague until 31 August 2013.
When Patriotic Love breeds a desire for selfish gain, it leads to the downfall of many great men; Caesar, Napoleon, and Alexander the Great all fell sway to its allure. It can cause the corruption of spirit seen in leaders like Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco. They would twist and distort Art to fit with their ideals, using it to produce propaganda and forbidding all that challenged their vision. In the face of such oppression, Patriotic Love shines most brightly in Art: when voices are silenced, images speak boldly.
|An example of wartime propaganda juxtaposed against an anti-propaganda piece by collage artist John Heartfield.|
Although Patriotic Love has given history some of its villains, it also has produced many heroes. Countless figures strove to protect what they held dear, in the true spirit of patriotism. They are the ones who are preserved in legend, captured by Art so that they may inspire generations. When I think of Patriotic Love, my mind does not focus on tragedy. I envision the strength and glory of works like Oath of the Horatii by Jacques-Louis David. There is grace to be found in such devotion - and that is something people of all lands can admire.