Alan Davie

Sacrifice

1956

Artist
Alan Davie 1920–2014
Medium
Oil paint on board
Dimensions
Support: 2337 x 3200 mm
frame: 2445 x 3211 x 38 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1964
Reference
T00633

Not on display

Display caption

By the mid-1950s recognisable symbols were appearing alongside the chance marks in Davie’s paintings. As in this painting, they did not convey specific meanings. Instead Davie considered them to be ‘primordial symbols which have many and varying meanings at different times but unknown to mankind’.

Although the central passage of this painting suggests disembowelled entrails, Davie maintains that the title was applied retrospectively. He equated sacrifice with ‘something cruel, noble, frightful, transcendent: a link between life and death, personal and universal’.

Gallery label, September 2004

Features

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Alan Davie: Entrance to a Paradise

Essay on the painter Alan Davie accompanying his BP Spotlight display at Tate Britain during 2014

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