PANZER MK IV: HOMAGE TO POUSSIN1976 Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925 − 2006)
Tank: Homage to Poussin. This is in different coloured woods (solid, rather than built on a box principle); it is 28” o.a. in length; the turret rotates and the gun elevates (by hand). The work is extremely well made, the wood inlay being quite immaculate. The ‘notion’ (so to put it) – i.e. the implicit concept of the work is contained in the following couplet (from an unpublished little book of mine):
Camouflage is Fields and Streams and Trees
In Ideal Form – which none but Poussin sees.
Or to put it another way: In the spirit of literary conceit, one might say that camouflage is the last or final form of classical landscape painting, since it ignores the particular in favour of the general.
The simplification of the tank which is a German Panzer Mk IV – the ‘classic’ (sic) German tank of World War II – is based on that used by the German technical model-makers of the period – i.e. on the photographs of the surviving models. These were made in wood, and are very handsome.
As a matter of interest, I have a letter from Albert Speer (Hitler’s Minister of Armaments) explaining the aesthetic pleasure he found in tanks at that period of history. But I think I determined to make the work when I read, in a magazine devoted to military modelling, the words, ‘There is no such thing as beautiful camouflage’. What nonsense: see my ‘Classification of Panzer camouflage ‘ in my Taschenbusch der Panzer’.)
Letter from the artist dated 28 August 1985
- Accession Number P5305
- Dimensions 26 X 69 X 28 CM
- Media WOOD AND WOOD INLAY
Landscape is one of the principle genres of Western art. In early paintings the landscape was a backdrop for the composition, but in the late 17th Century the appreciation of nature for its own sake began with the French and Dutch painters (from whom the term derived). Their treatment of the landscape differed: the French tried to evoke the classical landscape of ancient Greece and Rome in a highly stylised and artificial manner; the Dutch tried to paint the surrounding fields, woods and plains in a more realistic way. As a genre, landscape grew increasing popular, and by the 19th Century had moved away from a classical rendition to a more realistic view of the natural world. Two of the greatest British landscape artists of that time were John Constable and JMW Turner, whose works can be seen in the Tate collection (www.tate.org.uk). There can be no doubt that the evolution of landscape painting played a decisive role in the development of Modernism, culminating in the work of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists . Since then its demise has often been predicted and with the rise of abstraction, landscape painting was thought to have degenerated into an amateur pursuit. However, landscape persisted in some form into high abstraction, and has been a recurrent a theme in most of the significant tendencies of the 20th Century. Now manifest in many media, landscape no longer addresses solely the depiction of topography, but encompasses issues of social, environmental and political concern.
Work of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is a tightly stretched piece of canvas, paper or a wooden panel. Painting involves a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's intellectual concerns effecting the content of a work.
- UK, London, Maria Stenfors
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