Sidney Nolan

I’ve been recently looking at some artists who have used narrative content and sequential story telling and it brought to mind Sidney Nolan’s series of paintings of the notorious Ned Kelly. I’ve unfortunately never seen the Nolan paintings, which I imagine don’t travel out of Australia often. Nolan was very influenced by the paintings of Henri Rousseau, as well as an admirer of other French painters.

Ned Kelly was a fascinating figure made even more so by his decision to at some point outfit his gang with armour that made them impervious to bullets except for their legs. The armor weighed about 96 pounds, complete with helmets. Nolan uses the helmets to marvelous abstract and surreal effect in his paintings.

Peter Carey also wrote a terrific novel called the “The True History of the Kelly Gang” that won the Booker prize in 2001 that I’d highly recommend. A young Mick Jagger also starred in the movie Ned Kelly. Fortunately, he stuck with his singing career.

Here are a couple from Nolan’s series:

A link to a site with more of the paintings featured:

About trueoutsider

I'm an artist.
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