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Australian art

Contemporary art

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Attendants (after Schongauer)



Caroline Rothwell

England, Australia

1967 -


Caroline Rothwell's practice engages with the politics of place, migration, conflict and mortality through the lens of the environment. Her work often draws on the anatomy of endangered or extinct species, though she is equally known for creating mutant and hybrid forms that explore the impacts of biotechnology and environmental contamination. What may at first appear playful or innocent in Rothwell's work - shiny surfaces, toy-like contours, the allure of a flower or animal - are typically decoys for more ominous or unsettling subjects.

'Attendants (after Schongauer)' takes its cue from an early but influential engraving by German artist Martin Schongauer 'The Temptation of Saint Anthony' c1470s. This work depicts Saint Anthony in a state of calm while a group of devils claw and club his body, attempting to sabotage his pursuit of religious ascetism. Schongauer imagined these vicious creatures as fanciful hybrids with body parts amalgamated from different classes of animal - wings, horns, beaks, claws, scales and so on.

Rothwell's 'attendants' follow in the image of Schongauer's devils, mingling the grotesque and fantastic. However, her gathering of creatures is without an object of malice; perched on plinths (or suspended from above) among a grove of trees, they radiate a sinister but undirected energy. Hence they read as symbols - or perhaps symptoms - of a more general humanistic angst, perpetuated by the status quo of an increasingly unstable world: politically, environmentally, and economically.


Place where the work was made

Sydney New South Wales Australia



Media categories

Sculpture , Installation

Materials used

Britannia metal, hardware and plywood


a - Attendant (Max); 87.5 x 40 x 4.5 cm

b - Attendant (Molly); 77 x 39 x 3.5 cm

c - Attendant (Jake); 72 x 54 x 5.5 cm

d - Attendant (Sam); 55 x 70 x 4.5 cm

e - tree 1; 60 x 22 x 13 cm

f - tree 2; 53 x 14 x 14 cm

g - tree 3; 68.5 x 18 x 14 cm

h - box 1; 40 x 40 x 40 cm

i - box 2; 40 x 20 x 20 cm

j - box 3; 40 x 40 x 40 cm

k - box 4; 80 x 20 x 20 cm

l - box 5; 40 x 20 x 20 cm

m - box 6; 80 x 20 x 20 cm

n - box 7; 40 x 40 x 40 cm

o - box 8; 40 x 40 x 40 cm

p - box 9; 20 x 20 x 40 cm

q - box 10; 20 x 20 x 80 cm

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2013 with the assistance of Peter Braithwaite, Andrew & Cathy Cameron, Michael Hobbs, Judy Soper, Alenka Tindale


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Caroline Rothwell

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

Referenced in 3 publications


Megan Backhouse., The Age, 'Caroline Rothwell: borderlands', Melbourne, 06 Oct 2012, n.pag. (illus.).

Anne Loxley, Caroline Rothwell: borderlands, Melbourne, 2012, n.pag. (colour illus.). online catalogue viewed 10.09.2013, %20Borderlands%202012/

Tolarno Galleries (Compilator), Caroline Rothwell: borderlands, Melbourne, 2012, n.pag. (illus.). 9; priced $48,000