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Title

The galaxy


Artist

Sidney Nolan

Australia, England

22 Apr 1917 - 28 Nov 1992


About

In 1956, Sidney Nolan travelled to the Dardanelles in Turkey, a place synonymous with the Trojan War and Anzac folklore. Nolan was inspired by his reading of Homer's verse The Illiad and Alan Moorehead's 1955 article 'Return to a legend', which likened the siege of Troy to the Gallipoli landings. These experiences and influences culminated in Nolan's epic 'Gallipoli' series. 'The galaxy' 1957–58 depicts a ghostly march of figures emerging from a vortex of swirling and speckled green paint; an allegorical time warp in which the memories of war and the soldiers who lost their lives reverberate from the past into the present. The imagery expresses the fear of nuclear threat after World War II, recalling the particles of an atom bomb as well as the deep recesses and existential nothingness of space.


Details


Alternative title

Soldiers shelled while bathing


Place where the work was made

London England


Date

(1957-1958)


Media category

Painting


Materials used

synthetic polymer paint on canvas on hardboard


Dimensions

193.0 x 256.0 cm


Signature & date

Signed l.l., "N". Not dated.


Credit

Gift of Patrick White 1974


Accession number

57.1974


Artist information

Sidney Nolan

Works in the collection

135


Place

Where the work was made
London

Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 6 publications

Bibliography


Jane Clark, Sidney Nolan - landscapes and legends: a retrospective exhibition 1937 - 1987, Sydney, 1987, 124 (illus.).

Peter Craven, The life of Patrick White, Canberra, 2012, 15 (illus.). Photograph shows Patrick White and Sidney Nolan in front of the painting in 1963.

Helen Hewitt, Voices, 'Patrick White: painter manqué', pg. 61-70, Canberra, Winter 1997, 65, 67 (illus.). Illustration shows Patrick White and Sidney Nolan standing in front of the painting, c1960s.

Helen Verity Hewitt, Patrick White, painter, manqué: paintings, painters and their influence on his writing, 'White and the Sydney Art World: I', pg. 44-53, Carlton, 2002, 48, following 80 (illus.), 143. Photograph by Axel Poignant of Patrick White with Sidney Nolan standing before Nolan's painting 'Galaxy', c1960s.

David Marr, Patrick White: A life by David Marr, Milsons Point, 1991, 445.

The Zwemmer Gallery, Transferences, London, 1958, (illus.). cat.no. 4; titled 'Soldiers shelled while bathing'; not dated