Promoted from the ranks to serve as an Official Military Painter, French war artist Charles Huard (1875 - 1965) sketched these drawings of French Poilus as they stood guard in the frozen misery of the Soisson trenches during the winter of 1914. To let you know how accurate these drawings are, we've pasted below an excerpt from Under Fire
(1917) by Henri Barbusse (1873 - 1935) in which the writer describes the same scene:
"And our legs!...Just now I crept down, bent double, into our dugout, a little low cellar, smelling of damp and mold, where one stumbles over empty preserve cases and dirty bundles of rags...I saw legs framed in the rectangular entrance: horizontal, vertical, oblique, spread about, doubled up, intermingles, blocking the passage and cursed by the passers-by. They are a multifarious and multicolored aggregation; gaitors black and yellow, leggings long and short, made of leather, khaki or other waterproof material, puttees of dark blue, light blue, black, lavender, khaki, or unbleached serge."
Click here to read additional article about the World War I artists.
Click here to see a few trench war images by German Expressionist Otto Dix.