Sir Sidney Nolan Armoured Helmet 1956

Artwork details

Artist
Sir Sidney Nolan 1917–1992
Title
Armoured Helmet
Date 1956
Medium Oil paint on hardboard
Dimensions Support: 1219 x 914 mm
frame: 1261 x 956 x 55 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by Lord McAlpine of West Green 1983
Reference
T03556
Not on display

Display caption

This work, dated 16 November 1956, is one of a small group of paintings of Ned Kelly (see caption for 'Glenrowan') inspired by the doomed Hungarian uprising earlier that month. On 4 November Soviet tanks invaded Budapest. Savage street-fighting ensued and the uprising was crushed within a fortnight. News reports recorded that, during the conflict, the Hungarians tried to stop the tanks by smashing the periscope mirrors in which could be seen the reflections of the drivers' faces. Moved by such accounts Nolan invested the image of the helmeted Ned Kelly with this additional significance. Of these works a contemporary critic observed: 'History ... topicality of reference ... has overtaken Kelly'.

August 2004

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