Nebuchadnezzar on fire falling over a waterfall
24 Jul 1920 - 24 Apr 1999
According to the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament, Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, was punished by God for his pride and made insane for seven years:
… driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.
Reminded of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun and fell to the earth in flames, Arthur Boyd portrays Nebuchadnezzar as a meteor heading towards a waterfall in the Australian bush. Parallels with contemporary events may also be
drawn. As Robert Hughes pointed out in 1994, ‘Nebuchadnezzar on fire falling over a waterfall clearly related to the acts of self-immolation by protestors against the Vietnam war’.
Nebuchadnezzar over a waterfall
oil on canvas
183.5 x 175.9 cm stretcher
Signature & date
Signed l.r. corner, red oil "Arthur Boyd". Not dated.
Gift of Ms Catherine Palmer 1983
Not on display
© Reproduced with permission of Bundanon Trust
Shown in 3 exhibitions
Celebrity Choice - Sam Neill, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 08 Jan 1987–08 Feb 1987
Arthur Boyd retrospective (1993-1994):
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 15 Dec 1993–06 Mar 1994
- National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne 30 Mar 1994–23 May 1994
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart 09 Jun 1994–21 Aug 1994
- Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth 22 Sep 1994–20 Nov 1994
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
Referenced in 14 publications
Rob Ditessa', Artist's palette, 'Icons on show', pg. 54-59, Sydney, 2000, 54-55 (colour illus.).
Lou Klepac, Australian painters of the twentieth century, 'Sidney Nolan', pg. 136-147, Sydney, 2000, 155 (colour illus.).
Barry Pearce, Look, 'The legacy in Sydney Arthur Boyd', pg. 18-20, Melbourne, Jul 1999, 19 (colour illus.), 20.
Natalie Wilson, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Out of Melbourne: realisms and mythologies', pg. 163-164, Sydney, 2000, 164, 182 (colour illus., detail), 183 (colour illus.), 300.
When the Sons of Heaven Meet the Daughters of Earth, London, 1997, cover.
Collection of 1994 Australian Stamps, 1994, 16 (illus.).
Angels of death: exploring the euthanasia underground, Carlton South, 2002, front cover (colour illus., detail), back cover (colour illus.).
Barry Pearce, Arthur Boyd retrospective, Sydney, 1993, cover (colour illus.), 108 (colour illus.). cat.no. 108
Unknown, Celebrity choice: Sam Neill, Sydney, 1987, front cover (colour illus.). catalogue entry; no catalogue numbers; not paginated
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art from Australia: 2016 calender, Sydney, 2015, n.pag. (colour illus.). month of June
Nebuchadnezzar, 18 drawings and 34 paintings, London, 1972, 20-21 (colour illus.). plate no. 4
Janet McKenzie, Arthur Boyd: Art and life, 'Collaborative projects', pg.130-55, London, 2000, 139-140, 141 (colour illus.), 143.
The collection of 1999 Australian stamps, 'Australian legends - Arthur Boyd, AC, OBE', pg. 18-19, Australia, 1999, 18 (colour illus.), 19.
The Weekend Australian, Sydney, 01 May 1999-02 May 1999, 23, 24 (colour illus.).