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I always learn when I visit Doctor Flowers' site.

From google, and WHY that painting looks like it does:

André Masson fought in the Great War because he wanted to experience "the Wagnerian aspects of battle" and know "the ecstasy of death"; Otto Hahn's biography of Masson explained that "ecstasy" the day a bullet ripped into the young artist's chest during the offensive at Chemin des Dames in April of 1917. Stretcher-bearers were unable to get him to safety and he was left on his back for the night. "The world around him became something wondrous and he experienced his first complete physical release, while in the sky there appeared before him a torso of light."

Every person is unconsciously convinced of his own immortality, but when he faces his destiny, testing ceases and reality comes into its own. [...] Because of that "ecstatic experience" Masson became a stranger on earth, a perverse theologian of a world that had suffered a Fall and experienced an Incarnation which changed all the relations of his past and future.

From that alembic bullet and that torso of light, death became a fateful vision for Masson. The war left him nervous with nightmares; he suffered from insomnia and spent long painful hours dreaming new paintings.

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