Reginald Brill
Rest 1956

Artwork details

Reginald Brill 1902–1974
Date 1956
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1708 x 2139 x 25 mm
Acquisition Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1998
Not on display

Display caption

Though social realist art is not necessarily aligned with Socialism, some of it shows sympathy with left-wing causes. Rest is one example. It comes from a group of ‘Martyrdom of Man’ paintings by Brill. These large pictures address the condition of man in the twentieth century and tend to concentrate on the working class.

The composition of this painting parallels religious art of the Italian Renaissance, such as the sleeping soldiers in Piero della Francesca’s Resurrection (see image to the left of this caption). This implied spiritual elevation of the worker, like the painting’s monumental scale, sanctifies and memorialises the men as modern martyrs.

September 2004