Ian Hamilton Finlay
Arcadia [collaboration with George Oliver] 1973

Artwork details

Ian Hamilton Finlay 1925–2006
Arcadia [collaboration with George Oliver]
Date 1973
Medium Screenprint on paper
Dimensions Image: 355 x 437 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1974

Display caption

Arcadia is an area of Greece that is traditionally associated with an unspoilt rural paradise. In this print, Finlay draws an ironic parallel between this idea of a natural paradise and the camouflage patterns on a tank. There is also an echo of the Latin phrase ‘Et in Arcadia Ego’ (‘I too was in Arcadia’), used by the seventeenth-century French artist Nicolas Poussin in a painting of a group of shepherds discovering a tomb. Like Poussin, Finlay reminds us that death is present everywhere, even in paradise.

July 2008

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