The strategies of printmaking are fundamental to the visual language of Roy Lichtenstein. Peace Through Chemistry II, executed in 1971,is from a five part sequence composed of four prints and one bronze plate. The bold artwork repurposes the inescapable imagery of commercial culture, thereby counteracting notions of fine art.
Peace Through Chemistry II showcases a horizontal rectangle divided into three panels, akin to a triptych. Each third is halved by a strong diagonal line running across it. The composition depicts a schematised progression, starting with natural imagery and concluding with a portrait of scientific growth. The curvature of nature’s forms on the left counterbalances the angular industrial elements in the middle and on the right. The print’s vibrant dotted shapes are contrasted against solid contours and single colour fields, echoing the layout of Peace Through Chemistry I.
Peace Through Chemistry II is a colourful satire, ridiculing industrialisation’s claim that peace is achievable through a scientific approach. Additionally, the work also functions as a cubist revision of the motivational posters disseminated throughout America during the Great Depression era. Lichtenstein’sPeace Through Chemistry II is a brilliant printed mural, pinning humanity against machinery.