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Creator:
Paul Nash, 1889–1946, British
Title:

Souvenir of Florence

Date:
1929
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
27 x 17 1/4 inches (68.6 x 43.8 cm)
Inscription(s)/Marks/Lettering:

Signed, scratched into lower right with a little paint: "PN [monogram]"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B1985.20.1
Classification:
Paintings
Collection:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
abstract art | amphora | architectural subject | bridge (built work) | ceramic | cityscape | figure | reflection | restaurant | river | souvenir | still life
Associated Places:
Arno | Florence | Italy | Ponte Vecchio | Toscana
Access:
On view in the galleries
Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:1264
Export:
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IIIF Manifest:
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Paul Nash was born in London but raised in Buckinghamshire, where he developed a passion for landscape. He trained at the Slade School, citing J. M. W. Turner and William Blake as his influences. Wounded in the First World War, Nash was appointed one of the official war artists. His surreal, often bleak vision achieved international recognition. In the 1920s, Nash produced a series of compositions each dominated by a single, mysterious object. Souvenir of Florence depicts a vast amphora (a container for wine), which Nash had sketched in Florence in 1925. Four years later, it floats above the river Arno, with the Ponte Vecchio in the background. A faceless man and woman dining in a restaurant are reflected in its polished surface. While the amphora and the restaurant suggest sensory pleasures, the distance between the couple and the urn-like quality of the amphora evoke a melancholy quality, suggestive of isolation and death.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016



In the late 1920s Nash produced a series of paintings where a single, often mysterious object dominates the composition. In this example Nash represents a vast amphora he had seen in Florence's railway station in 1925, which impressed him sufficiently that he sketched it for future reference. Four years later he used it in a surrealist setting, apparently floating above the Arno with the Ponte Vecchio glimpsed in the background. In its polished surface is caught the reflection of a faceless man and woman eating in a restaurant. As a container for wine, the amphora and its restaurant setting hint at the sensory pleasures of the body. Yet the apparent distance between the couple and the urn-like quality of the giant vessel also evoke a melancholy quality, suggestive of isolation and even death.

Gallery label for Connections (Yale Center for British Art, 2011-05-26 - 2011-09-11)



In the late 1920s Paul Nash produced a series of paintings where a single, often mysterious object dominates the composition. In Souvenir of Florence, Nash represents a vast amphora which he had seen in Florence’s railway station in 1925 and was sufficiently impressed with to sketch for future reference. Four years later he used it in a surrealist setting, apparently floating above the river Arno with the Ponte Vecchio glimpsed in the background. The reflection of a faceless man and woman eating in a restaurant is caught in the amphora’s polished surface. As a container for wine, the amphora and its restaurant setting hint at the sensory pleasures of the body. Yet, the apparent distance between the couple and the urn-like quality of the amphora also evoke a melancholy quality, suggestive of isolation and even death.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2011

Connections (Yale Center for British Art, 2011-05-26 - 2011-09-11) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

20th Century Paintings and Sculpture (Yale Center for British Art, 2000-01-27 - 2000-04-30) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Andrew Causey, Paul Nash, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1980, pp. 154, 157, pl. 187, NJ18 N17 A12 C38 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Paul Mellon's Legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels] , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 1, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA) [YCBA]

Paul Nash, paintings and watercolours [exhibition, Tate Gallery, 12 November - 28 December 1975]. , Tate Publishing, London, 1975, p. 76, no. 116, NJ18 N17 T37 (YCBA) [YCBA]


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