Alexandre Zinoview, a painter born in Moscow, moved to Paris in 1909 to live in bohemian Montparnasse. When war broke out, he enrolled in the French Foreign Legion on 24 August 1914. In addition to his photography, he produced an original body of work on the war, testifying to his experience as a combatant. Dedicated to illustrating the experience of the front, he addressed the themes of sorties, injuries, ruins, explosions and supplies. The figures in his art, placed theatrically in a naked landscape without perspective, express something difficult to put into words: fear in the face of peril, suffering – and boredom.
The Cold is typical of Zinoview’s particularly distinctive war works. The foreground is occupied by close figures, in front of vertical silhouettes and a distant landscape of hills and winding paths. The expressiveness of the men represents their suffering and questioning of their own fate, as well as dignity and resignation.
Alexandre Zinoview (1889-1977), Le Froid (The Cold), Aisne, 1917, cardboard, tempera, H. 23.3 x W. 29.3 cm. Inventory no.: 2006.1.113