An image of Italian crucifix

Sidney Nolan

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

Italian crucifix

Not on display
Further information

Nolan visited Italy in 1954 for a second time. He travelled extensively, fascinated by the religiousness and sense of antiquity that permeated its landscape and culture. 'Italian crucifix' is one of several paintings on the theme of a primitive crucifix that found its main source in the numerous wayside shrines of the south.

Flanked by selected instruments of the crucifixion, Nolan's central image of a face in the shape of a palette is suggestive of both Christ and the masked bushranger Kelly, adopted in the previous decade as the artist's alter ego. Set against ancient architectural fragments and the arid coastline of Puglia in southern Italy, it conveys what Nolan had felt so strongly to be the Christian/pagan spirit arising from the Italian landscape.

enamel on hardboard
93.0 x 123.0 cm board; 107.0 x 137.0 x 5.0 cm frame
Signature & date

Signed and dated lower c., pencil "Nolan/ 15-4-44". Signed lower c., pale red synthetic polymer paint "n.".

Purchased with funds provided by the Nelson Meers Foundation 2001
Accession number
© The Trustees of the Sidney Nolan Trust/Bridgeman Art Library