'All artists should go to the front to strengthen their art by a worship of physical and moral courage and a fearless desire of adventure, risk and daring and free themselves from the canker of professors, archaeologists, cicerones, antiquaries and beauty worshippers.'
– C. R. W. Nevinson
Born in 1889, Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson grew up in Rosslyn Hill House in Hampstead. Between 1909 and 1912, he studied painting at the Slade School of Art. In 1912, Nevinson was introduced to the Italian Futurist movement after visiting an exhibition of their work in London and was so inspired by their modern, geometric painting style that he and Wyndham Lewis decided to host a dinner with Futurism’s founder, the Italian poet F. T. Marinetti. The dinner took place in November 1913 and was attended by the other Rebel Art Centre artists. Influenced by 'The Futurist Manifesto' of 1909 and other Futurist poems written by Marinetti, Lewis and Nevinson decided to create a magazine to accompany their newly developing artistic style, which would similarly stress the importance of modernity, power and technology on their work. Nevinson came up with the title ‘Blast’ and, in an attempt to move away from the Futurist label, the group renamed their movement ‘Vorticism’, as suggested by American poet Ezra Pound.
In 1914, after the outbreak of the First World War, Nevinson joined the Friends’ Ambulance Unit, where he tended to wounded soldiers in France; before returning to Britain in 1915 due to ill health. Nevinson created a series of Futurist-style paintings inspired by the horrors that he had seen in France. By 1919, Nevinson had given up Futurism completely and had adopted a more traditional style of painting.