While commemorations of war throughout history have often focused on gallantry and heroism, artists struggled with the task of memorializing World War I. The destruction of human life during the war, multiplied by the use of such new weapons as poison gas, flamethrowers, and tanks, stunned and appalled soldiers and civilians alike. A year after the war ended, Britain’s War Memorials Committee commissioned John Singer Sargent, one of the most famous artists of the day, to create a large-scale painting as a memorial to the nation’s fallen soldiers. Well known for his portraits and landscapes, Sargent had never taken on a project as momentous as this one, and he found it difficult and challenging. Eventually, he produced a painting titled Gassed.