- John Armstrong 1893–1973
- Tempera on board
- Support: 533 × 375 mm
frame:660 × 510 × 70mm
- Purchased 1941
N05257 ICARUS 1940
Inscr. ‘JA [in monogram] 40’ b.r.
Canvas, 21×14 3/4 (53·5×37·5).
Purchased from the Leicester Galleries (Knapping Fund) 1941.
Exh: United Artists, R.A., January–March 1940 (1217); C.A.S., British Painting Today, Provincial Tour, 1940–2 (22).
Repr: Studio, CXXVIII, 1944, p.57; Hesketh Hubbard, A Hundred Years of British Painting 1851–1951, 1951, pl.116.
The artist wrote (20 October 1959) that ‘“Icarus” has always been a symbol to me of the world flying too close to the sun of knowledge and getting destroyed in the process. The version in the Tate was painted earlier (I think) than the one reproduced in Arthur Howell's book.’
The second version is reproduced in colour in The Meaning and Purpose of Art by Arthur R. Howell, 1957, facing p.170, and shows the same central element of a cracked globe on the end of a pole, but this time without wings and surrounded by shattered fragments. The sea is suggested only in the background instead of forming part of the foreground as in No.5257. A later version was exhibited at the R.A., 1961 (564), as ‘Icarus 1961’ (repr. Royal Academy Illustrated, 1961, p.64) and others at the Molton and Lords, November 1963 (21, 23–5).
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I