Cecil Collins The Cells of Night 1934

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Artwork details

Artist
Cecil Collins 1908–1989
Title
The Cells of Night
Date 1934
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 762 x 635 mm
frame: 921 x 795 x 80 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1971
Reference
T01478
Not on display

Display caption

'The Cells of Night' is one of the earliest paintings in which Collins expressed his ideas about the life of the human spirit. The human head in the foreground represents the psyche while the landscape behind, seen in dramatic recession, represents infinity. The distortion of the head symbolises the human psyche's yearning for infinity. The 'Cells' of the title refer to the multitude of organisms and natural phenomena that make up the cosmos. The breaking of dawn signifies the promise of a new world and the possibility of re-birth, important themes in Collins's work of this period.

September 2004

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