War is child’s play – or is it?

Children play at war – because they don’t know it in any other way. They salute with wooden rifles, homemade flags and march with toy drums. This is a test of strength at a young age. Later on, for many of them, the game becomes more serious.


Fools and children tell the truth. Pejorative, glorifying, with a serious face – yet with the face of the joker in full view. Caricature soon found its way into graphic art. On paper, criticism could be spread more easily, in a variety of ways. It serves as a weapon from the arsenal of fine arts. Its images remain relevant today. It exaggerates, sharpens and holds up a mirror to the viewer.


Two Satirical Prints on Military Life

Albrecht Schmidt (1667–1744)

The two depictions here belong to a series of prints satirising the everyday lives of soldiers. Augsburg publisher Albrecht Schmidt had already specialized in the form of caricature around 1700. This form of criticising current affairs was implemented early on in prints.  more...

Children Playing at War, 1788

George Keating (1762–1842)

The reproduction of a painting by the English genre and landscape painter George Morland shows ten children playing at being soldiers. In early modern Europe, children grow up with images of war in their minds.  more...

Alte Galerie, Schloss Eggenberg

Eggenberger Allee 90
8020 Graz, Österreich
T +43-316/8017-9560


Opening Hours

April to October Tue-Sun, public holidays 10am-6pm 
1 November to 17 December only with guided tour by prior appointment

Opening Hours Library
Tues–Fri 10am–12pm and afternoons by appointment only