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Guilt and innocence impressively brought into focus

The Drummer of Borodino

Simon Spruyt

Vincent Bosse is a young drummer in Napoleon’s army. His appearance is so angelic that all his life he has been protected by older men, who see in him the personification of innocence. During the campaign in Russia he is spared a place among the cannon fodder, able instead to stay safely behind the lines, urging the men on with his drum. In the chaos of the Battle of Borodino and the taking of an abandoned Moscow, angel-faced Vincent manages to save his own skin time and again. Many years later he tells his story to the young Leo Tolstoy.

Le Figaro

Simon Spruyt was inspired to write ‘The Drummer of Borodino’ by a drummer who is mentioned briefly in ‘War and Peace’. Through Vincent Bosse he investigates the subject of innocence. In old age Bosse feels responsible for the many dead who fell all around him, but can a man be blamed for saving himself in a thoroughly insane situation? With watercolours and a limited but carefully chosen palette, Spruyt brings the war and its horrors convincingly to life. A brilliant exploration of a universal theme.

The way in which Spruyt portrays the hell that is the war in blocks of colour with no outlines makes a greater impression than many of his fellow artists have ever made with realistic drawings.
9e kunst
Magnetic and cruel. A fascinating book bathed in captivating graphics