Michael Rothenstein, 'Catherine Wheels' 1953

Michael Rothenstein
Catherine Wheels 1953
Intaglio print on paper
image: 298 x 425 mm
Purchased 1986© The estate of Michael Rothenstein

It’s the time of year when the 15 tog duvet is out, pumpkins have sagged and colourful explosive devices skyrocket and boom in the air.  And Michael Rothenstein’s Catherine Wheels captures the latter of these seasonal rituals beautifully.

Swooshing red triangles draw us into the hypnotic spiral of the catherine wheels, whilst the dark dappled sky could suggest trails of distant fireworks. Dramatic blood-like splats of red in the top left invite us to remember the sinister, hazardous potential of our favourite night of pyrotechnic thrills.

Artist Michael Rothenstein is a painter, maker of reliefs, lithographer and designer. This 1953 Intaglio print is on handmade paper and can be viewed by appointment at Tate Britain’s Prints and Drawings Rooms.