Leon Kossoff

From Veronese: The Consecration of St Nicholas


Sorry, no image available

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Leon Kossoff born 1926
Etching on paper
566 x 411 mm
Presented by the artist 2007


This print

is one of many works executed by the London-based artist Leon Kossoff in response to paintings

from the National Gallery, in this case, The Consecration of Saint Nicholas 1561–2 by Paolo Veronese (1528–88). Kossoff etched these works in front of the paintings in question and a quality of spontaneity is characteristic of the finished prints. Tate’s collection includes several of his responses to this painting: P117089, acquired by Tate in 1999, and P20298 and P20321, both 1986, are part of a group of thirty-four prints (P20296P20329) given to Tate by the artist in 2007. Kossoff collaborated with the artist Ann Dowker on the production of the prints. In P20321, which is printed on taupe wove paper, etching and drypoint techniques are combined. It is a unique print.

In this altarpiece, Veronese has portrayed the moment of Nicholas’s divinely-ordained consecration as an archbishop. Kossoff follows the original composition quite closely, though the scene is necessarily reversed as a result of the print-making process. He accentuates the architectural features with which Veronese structures his highly theatrical scene, and focuses his attention in particular on the dramatic interactions of the figures. In P20321, Kossoff emphasises the role of the kneeling devotee with arms crossed over his chest at the centre of the lower zone.

Most of the prints that made up the gift were displayed in the 2007 exhibition Leon Kossoff: Drawing from Painting at the National Gallery.

Further reading:
Richard Kendall, Drawn to Painting: Leon Kossoff Drawings and Prints After Nicolas Poussin, London 2000.
Richard Morphet, Encounters: New Art From Old, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery, London 2000, pp.214–35.
Leon Kossoff: Drawing from Painting, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery, London 2007.

Alice Sanger
August 2009

You might like