Leon KossoffThe Triumph of Pan (2) 1998

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Artwork details

Leon Kossoff (born 1926)
The Triumph of Pan (2)
Date 1998
MediumEtching on paper
Acquisition Presented by Peter and Liz Goulds 1999
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms


This print is one of many etchings executed by Leon Kossoff in response to, and literally in the presence of, oil paintings by old masters; in this case The Triumph of Pan, 1635-6, by Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665), owned by the National Gallery, London. Tate owns four prints by Kossoff after this Poussin painting (Tate P11730-3) as well as two prints after a preparatory drawing by Poussin for the same painting (Tate P11734-5). Kossoff’s ability to explore a number of separate responses while making drawings and prints from a single subject is illustrated in these etchings. This version was printed in an edition of twenty with ten artist’s proofs; Tate owns number three of the artist’s proofs.

The Poussin painting depicts men, women, children and satyrs enmeshed in a riotous embrace, accompanied by a profusion of animals, masks, food, drink and flowers. The scene represents the triumph, or worship, of the armless statue of a horned deity mounted on a pillar, his face smeared red with the juice of boiled ivy stems. Kossoff’s response to this painting was to cut back the landscape setting and most of the detail. He focused on the writhing mass of humanity and stressed the merged identity of bodily forms with earth, rocks and foliage. The figures in this print stand out from the composition as a whole through the way they are outlined heavily but not shaded internally… (read more)

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