Help my short-sighted mind's eye.
March 30, 2010 12:11 AM   Subscribe

I am attempting to identify the artist and time period of a specific painting. Vague (and possibly unhelpful) details inside- any help would be appreciated.

The painting I'm looking for was (I believe) exhibited at the National Gallery in London, but I've been unable to find it on their website. I saw it about five years ago, and remember that among the elements it contains, the main is a dead man, stretched on the ground in prone position reminiscent of the Four of Swords in the Rider-Waite Tarot.

Ducking away from the light of specifically remembered details and into the murky depths of possibility and doubt, other symbols associated with this memory are a skull, a lamp, a dark, blasted landscape, a scarab (?), possibly a withered or petrified tree. When attempting to visualise this painting in my memory I'm struck with a vivid sense of death, negation and loss.

I'm almost certain someone will know it- I've tried Googling the various incorporated symbols and trawling through lists of previous exhibits but nothing has come up.
posted by malusmoriendumest to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm guessing that this is it.

(If the link gets goobered up somehow, it's a painting in The National Gallery called "A Dead Soldier," and it's Italian, 17th century, with no artist attribution.)
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:07 AM on March 30, 2010

Response by poster: Ah, wonderful. Thanks for the quick response- it would've been humiliatingly easy to find had I thought of "a dead soldier" rather than "a dead man". *hangs his head in shame*
posted by malusmoriendumest at 1:21 AM on March 30, 2010

Nit-picking: He is laying supine, not prone.
posted by SLC Mom at 6:16 AM on March 30, 2010

Isn't he lying, not laying, supine?
posted by aqsakal at 8:03 AM on March 30, 2010



Gotta remember that! c :-)
posted by SLC Mom at 8:16 AM on March 30, 2010

...other symbols associated with this memory are a skull, a lamp, a dark, blasted landscape, a scarab (?)...

A scabbard, perhaps?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:27 AM on March 30, 2010

I wonder if "A Dead Soldier" was a source for Manet's "The Dead Toreador" (in the National Gallery in Washington, DC).
posted by Bigfoot Mandala at 4:26 PM on March 30, 2010

Response by poster: heh, considering that it's been five years since I saw this painting (and it was only a cursory glance, at that), I'm surprised that I got quite so many of the details. Thanks again.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 12:24 AM on March 31, 2010

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