Solstice of the SunflowerEnlarge image

Solstice of the Sunflower, 1945

Paul Nash
British, 1889 - 1946
oil on canvas
71.3 x 91.4 cm
Gift of the Massey Collection of English Painting, 1952
National Gallery of Canada (no. 5885)
© The estate of Sir Jacob Epstein

"Solstice of the Sunflower" is one of the last oil paintings Paul Nash completed before his death in 1946. Admired for its formal boldness and visionary qualities, it was part of a series of sunflower works inspired by his reading of Sir James Frazer's "The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion". Nash described the subject of this painting: "The spent Sun shines from its zenith encouraging the Sunflower in the dual role of sun and firewheel to perform its mythological purpose. The Sun appears to be whipping the Sunflower like a top. The Sunflower Wheel tears over the hill cutting a path through the standing corn and bounding into the air as it gains momentum. This is the blessing of the Midsummer Fire."




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