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Details & Cataloguing

English Literature & History

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London

Ayrton, Michael
ICARUS
390 by 545mm., ink and watercolour drawing, unsigned, mounted, framed and glazed, some browning, minor tear in lower right corner
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Catalogue Note

Michael Ayrton was fascinated by the myth of Daedalus and Icarus and in 1961 made a famous series of bronze sculptures (see 'Icarus Transformed I' in the Tate and 'Icarus III' in Old Change Court, by St Paul's in London). The present drawing, thought to date from 1940, is therefore an early watercolour including a Classical character that would haunt the artist. The reverse includes an abandoned pencil sketch.

"At the apex of his climb, because mass is modified by its velocity, Icarus changed his form and the anatomy of this transformation obsesses me. The image I seek is a paraphrase of the human body, adapted to those unknown areas of physical experience which it will presently enter. The re-shaping of their flesh, under intense pressure, appears at once awe-inspiring and a little absurd, just as the ambition which led both to the triumph and fall of Icarus is both heroic and ridiculous." (Michael Ayrton: The Icarus Theme, Exhibition catalogue, Matthiesen Gallery London, 1961)

English Literature & History

|
London