An image of Kelly

Sidney Nolan

(Australia, England 22 Apr 1917 – 28 Nov 1992)

Kelly

Location
Not on display
Further information

Nolan’s second Ned Kelly series of 1954–56 moved away from the primitive style of the first series, embracing a more poetic, universal meaning for his image of the outlaw. The deeper sonority of colour and reinvention of previous concepts hint at a more powerful theme of transcendence, or transformation. Referring to elements from his paintings of the 1940s with roof, veranda posts and patterned wallpaper of the Glenrowan Hotel, Nolan has interposed burnt building remnants with the drought-affected landscape he had experienced more recently. Kelly's Christ-like features –no less than the vivid blue eye-slit above, and water beyond – arise from the artist’s recent Mediterranean experiences of the landscape of Italy and Greece. Kelly's crimson eyes signify death, but at the base of the composition, a kangaroo-paw flower blooms in the aftermath of drought, fire and violence.

Year
1956
Media
Painting
Medium
enamel on hardboard
Dimensions
121.5 x 91.0 cm
Signature & date
Signed and dated verso l.l.c. "Nolan / June / 56". Signed l.r. "N".[monogram]. Not dated.
Credit
Purchased 1984
Accession number
4.1984
Copyright
© The Trustees of the Sidney Nolan Trust/Bridgeman Art Library