A selection of paintings by Winston Churchill, iconic statesman, Nobel Prize winner, and wartime hero, will be exhibited at the University of Georgia Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library from March 18-April 17.
The Art of Diplomacy: Winston Churchill and the Pursuit of Painting will include seven Churchill paintings and numerous artifacts, honoring Sir Winston Churchill’s family connections to Georgia. It is organized by the Millennium Gate Museum and the family of Winston Churchill’s great-grandson, Duncan Sandys. Athens is one of eight cities in Georgia selected to host the exhibition that commemorates the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s passing.
This exhibition showcases how painting rescued Churchill from depression and despair in 1915, putting him on the road towards his finest hour. It demonstrates how the act of painting, and the skills Churchill learned from his hobby, contributed to his ability to think about how best to confront the rise of Nazi Germany, and highlights how he used his painting skills to make his leadership during the Second World War more effective. As Churchill wrote, “If it weren’t for painting I could not live. I couldn’t bear the strain of things.” If he was right – in the words of esteemed art historian Ernst Gombrich – “his painting may have helped to save Western civilization.”
Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, and a writer. He was made an honorary citizen of the United States in 1963. Churchill’s family has maintained a legacy of influence and involvement in Georgia since its founding. His ancestor, John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, trained General James Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia, in military tactics. Churchill himself lectured and toured in Georgia in 1932.
The Hargrett Gallery is located in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. The building is open free to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.