We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Lysistrata I



Arthur Boyd

Australia, England

24 Jul 1920 – 24 Apr 1999

Artist profile

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Carshalton London England
    Media category
    Materials used
    oil on canvas
    320.0 x 277.5 cm stretcher
    Signature & date

    Signed l.r. corner, red oil "Arthur Boyd". Not dated.

    Purchased with funds provided by Katies through the auspices of Joseph and Gerda Brender 1982
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Reproduced with permission of Bundanon Trust

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Arthur Boyd

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    During the early 1960s Arthur Boyd developed a strong interest in the myths and literary themes of ancient Greece. In particular he became fascinated with the story of 'Lysistrata'. This ancient Greek comedy by the playwright Aristophanes was originally produced in Athens in the spring of 411BC. In the play Lysistrata ('dismisser of armies') is an Athenian woman who negotiates an end to the war between her city-state and Sparta. She accomplishes this by persuading the other Athenian women to refuse the conjugal rights of their husbands until peace is achieved. The women take possession of the Acropolis and the treasury in the Parthenon, and with support from the women of Sparta and other enemy states, successfully force a conclusion to the war.

    Boyd chose to focus on one of the female dissenters as she stealthily escapes over the walls of the Acropolis in the dead of night to keep a rendezvous with her waiting husband. Symbolically, they are near the cave of Pan, the ancient god of love, underlining a typically Boydean theme of conflict between opposing forces: in this instance anti-war idealism and sexual desire.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

    • Janet McKenzie, Arthur Boyd: Art and life, 'Experimentation: Graphic work', pg. 116-129, London, 2000, 129.

    • Barry Pearce, Look, 'The legacy in Sydney Arthur Boyd', pg. 18-20, Melbourne, Jul 1999, 20.

Other works by Arthur Boyd

See all 402 works