The Cup

Accession Number AWM2016.616.1
Collection type Art
Measurement Unframed: 75 x 50 cm
Object type Print
Physical description aquatint
Maker Boyd, Arthur
Place made Australia
Date made c 1970s - early 1990s
Conflict Period 1970-1979

Item copyright: Unlicensed copyright


This work is a symbolic reflection on the psychological legacy of conflict and the torment of war by a prominent Australian artist, whose life and practice was influenced by the Second World War and the Vietnam War. Boyd was conscripted into the Australian army in May 1941 and discharged in March 1944. His paintings from the Second World War include expressionistic images of human dislocation and suffering.

In the late 1980s Boyd completed a large series of images for joint publication with the poetry of Peter Porter in the book Mars (Andre Deutsch, 1988); the title references the pagan Roman god personifying war, with the images confronting the violence and inhumanity of war. The symbolism in The Cup shares overlaps with the symbolism in this series. Boyd’s work included private symbols to create images of personal despair and anxiety. He often reassembled familiar motifs and imagery into new compositions.

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