Images of battle are present in all periods of art history, but serious analyses of representations of battle are relatively new. Some of the best scholarly work so far examines battle imagery in the early modern period.
Historian Peter Paret’s Imagined Battles (1997) offers an interesting discussion of depictions of battle. Numerous art historical studies have considered Jacques Callot’s battle scenes and depictions of the miseries of war. A new interdisciplinary collective volume on Beholding Violence in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ed. Allie Terry-Fritsch and Erin Felicia Labbie (2012) examines ways of visualizing battles in the broader context of witnessing violence. My chapter in this volume examines how early modern Europeans experienced and observed siege warfare.
A conference entitled Représenter la bataille was recently held at the Musée du Louvre in Paris on the problem of how battle has been represented throughout history. The sessions focused on the example of the Chanson de Roland and its imagery of battle.
Unfortunately, my research sabbatical in Paris wrapped up just a few weeks before this conference, so I was unable to attend.
The Louvre website presents a conference program and description.