Sidney Nolan 'Untitled (Prometheus)'

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At the core of Sidney Nolan's artistic legacy lies his masterful fusion of myth and modernism. His profound fascination with tales of loss, failure, capture, and redemption, drawn from Australian history and beyond, is a defining feature of his work.

In 'Untitled (Prometheus),' 1968, Nolan reimagines the enduring myth of Prometheus in a contemporary light. In this evocative work of art a fiery eagle hovers ominously near a central figure, its form obscured by the chaotic etchings and ink scratches that surround it.

Prometheus, the audacious Titan of Greek mythology, remains a symbol of daring defiance against the gods for the betterment of humanity. His most famous act involved the theft of fire from the gods, granting mortals the gift of knowledge and innovation, which sparked the flourishing of civilization. Yet, this act incurred the relentless wrath of Zeus, leading to Prometheus enduring eternal torment as he was bound to a rock, his liver perpetually devoured by an eagle. Prometheus epitomizes the timeless human struggle for progress, representing the unyielding quest for knowledge, resilience, and the unwavering spirit of humanity in the face of adversity. His narrative has served as a wellspring of inspiration for artists, thinkers, and storytellers across history, solidifying his status as a potent symbol of human ingenuity and sacrifice.

In 'Untitled (Prometheus),' a sense of mystery and primal essence emanates, as though the creature were forged from the very red Australian soil. This artwork coincides with Nolan's exploration of the life cycle of plants in his 1968 'Paradise Garden' series, where buds emerge from the mud, burst into bloom, and ultimately return to the earth. It serves as a profound representation of his enduring fascination with myths and rebirth, all the while showcasing his penchant for experimentation in his artistic practice. Characteristically Nolan, 'Untitled (Prometheus)' stands as a historically and symbolically rich testament to the artist's lasting legacy, making it a highly coveted and collectible piece for art enthusiasts and connoisseurs.

Sidney NOLAN (1917 - 1992)
'Untitled (Phoenix Rising)' 1968
mixed media on paper
Image Size: 30 x 25 cm
Framed Dimensions: 58 x 43 x 3 cm
Signed: Nolan verso and dated 8 Feb 68
Inscribed with 26 in pencil on verso
Comes with Letter of Provenance

Condition: Very Good. Describes a work of art's image as Excellent, but may show some small signs of surrounding wear to paper or frame. There are no tears to paper margin or disruption to the paint surface. 

© Sidney Nolan / Copyright Agency 2023