Tate Kids


Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson, The Soul of the Soulless City (`New York – an Abstraction’), 1920

Nevinson first visited New York in 1919 and stayed for a month. He was very impressed by New York’s architecture and made many sketches of the city, some of which were later made up into paintings and prints.

Nevinson painted this picture when he returned to London. The painting shows an imaginary section of the elevated railway running through Manhattan. The railway line recedes dramatically into a cluster of skyscrapers. The angular shapes and muted brown and grey colours suggest the speed and technology of the modern city. Why do you think Nevinson has decided not to include any people?

9 stories about “Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson, The Soul of the Soulless City (`New York – an Abstraction’), 1920”

  1. Katie, age 11, from Scotland

    who knew what was up this magnifecent road out of the city.was it gold and riches,diamond and pearl,the doorway to heaven or even something more amazing than we could imagine………the soul of the souless city!!!!

  2. Thomas, age 5, from England

    It was a hot day. The rails were greasy! There were tall buildings near the points. The sky was blue. A train came trundling by. The train wanted to go on the other line and it reached the right station. The street was quiet again.

  3. Rosie, age 4, from England

    “wooo woo” the train went as it stormed up the hill the throught the city. It was coming up to a bridge but it wasn’t down. “what will i do cried the captin help.” the man at the bridge control heard but his son was playing in the gears and would be crushed if the bridge came down he called to his ” son quickly theres a train” but the son did not hear him. he had no choice as the train was holdin 10000 people he lowered the gate, thus crushing his son too death or so he thought. the boy a few seconds later before the train came found a little rabbit and came out of the gears to show his dad. the boy ran up to his crying dad and hugged him he sad “don’t worry i am alright god sent a rabbit to get me out in time.” and the kept the rabbit till he died.

  4. Ben, age 9, from England

    The Mystery Train

    Once a upon a time, there lived a Man who was old. The old Man owned lots of trains; his best and oldest train was known as the, Mystery train. One day he had to shut down the station, because there was a massive hole in the track, all of a sudden the train started to rumble and steam came out of the funnel, the handbrake came off and the train started to move, the man ran out of his house to see what all the noise was, he saw it was his train moving at a speed of light, the man realiced the gigantic hole in the track, the man tried to change the direction of the train but the man was’nt strong enough, he thought the train would fall down the hole, but the train flew over the hole. The man couldn’t believe his eyes, then the train disappeard into thin air .

  5. Becki, age 12, from England

    As i looked ahead me, i could see the old, wooden tracks, sleeping, in an everlasting dream. The dream of freedom. Of roaming the city just a few steps too far away. I heard them groan. Grieving for themselves. But there they stayed. As still as anything. Watching the towering buildings laugh, as they danced around teasing and joking. But there the tracks stayed. Still as anything. With no soul or memories there they stayed waiting. Waiting to explore. I heard them cry. I watched them struggle as the young trains passed on by. Bringing their freedom, bringing their fun but bringing nothing except there cold metal wheels for the old wooden tracks. Again they struggled. Again they groaned. And again they did not suceed. But who would choose such a pointless life? To stand. To stare. To wish. To want. To dream. But never to recieve the ultimate goal. The posession of souless freedom.

  6. Karl, age 10, from Spain

    The Collider

    The two trains sped along the track like a swift. One was heading north and one was heading south. What the drivers did not know was that parts of the tracks were joined. As the trains sped closer, the drivers saw the joined part of the track. Brakes screeched. Drivers squealed. Passengers screamed. CRASH! The trains collided and made a horrible crunching noise like a gigantic packet of crisps being scrunched up. The two drivers were badly injured but still had enough strength to get out of their carriages and shout at each other.

    Later, when the police were called in, they saw the two drivers pathetically squabbling, despite being badly injured. An inspector walked slowly over to the track and examined it. He beckoned to a policeman to have a look. “This was no accident. Look, they’re the tools the person used to cut the track,” the inspector said calmly, but slightly worried. “Look sir a note!” exclaimed the police officer. “It says: I cause collisions, I hurt people, I am the Collider.” There was a pause … then the inspector said sighing, “It seems we have a madman on the loose.”

    “How can you be sure it’s a man sir?” questioned the officer.

    “No woman would be able to cut that track! We can safely say it’s a man.”

    Later in the week there was another tragedy. A coach was driving along an empty road. Apart from the coach there was one vehicle on the road. Up ahead was a 4×4 parked in the middle of the road. The bus driver saw it and immediately was in a panic. He tried to brake but it was too late…BANG! But this time the inspector was ready. He was waiting in the coach. As soon as it crashed he jumped out of the emergency exit and saw the ‘collider’ on the run. Now was time for the exiting chase. The man could run anywhere because there was a forest on each side of the road. He ran into one of them. The inspector chased him like a tiger and its prey. They ran through the dark, dense forest so quick that if anyone had seen them they would have looked like a blur. When they were near the exit, the inspector tripped on a root. The man turned round and the inspector saw his face for the first time. He was bald with small, bloodshot eyes and a scar on his bottom lip. He wasn’t looking where he was going and fell into a trap set by the police officer. “Off to jail, egghead!”, the officer said proudly.

  7. Lucelia, age 11, from England

    Once there was a souless city, where all means of life was drained away long ago. If you dare step through the big black gates, and wonder into the middle of all the houses, you will find a windey, never ending traintrack, leading to the depths of the underworld. They said anyone who ventured there would slowly lose their soul and drift back to the houses. For the newcoming soul, a house would appear amoungst the others. Some say it still exists,hidden in shadow…

  8. Frazier, age 11, from England

    one day there was a train going to london taking all the usuall people through the rush hour. when sudenly the track ahead started moving it changed to a corckscrew then a loop-the-loop. After ten minutes of intense twisting and turning it all stopped and the passangers got off safely and went home .

    boy did they have a story to tell……..but would any one belie them.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Christina, age 7, from USA

    There once was a train track. Nobody knew why it was there. A lot of people wondered about it. Every morning this little girl named Drina looked at the train track. She never saw a train come by, not even once. Then, one morning when she woke up extra early she saw a train that had an inscription that said ‘ Magic Express.’ She walked outside her door and the train stopped. She ran inside as quickly as she could. She was very curious what it was about. The train stopped and a lot of elves came out of it. All of a sudden, there was a beautiful, beautiful city where the old one used to be! It was all red and all the buildings had windows made of jingly bells. On their fascades the buildings had jewels–rubies, sapphires, and diamonds–so they glittered. There was a bag standing outside a door. It was beautiful. The colors joined together and made a rainbow in the sky. Drina was amazed.
    She also noticed a bag had been delivered. Drina went into the bag and there was her house. But it wasn’t like in this picture, it was much more beautiful than it was before. It was connected with the beautiful city she had seen.

    The train had brought beauty into her world.