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Paul Nash, 1889–1946, British

Souvenir of Florence

Oil on canvas
Support (PTG): 27 x 17 1/4 inches (68.6 x 43.8 cm)

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:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
abstract art | amphora | bridge (built work) | ceramic | cityscape | figure | reflection | restaurant | river | souvenir | still life
Associated Places:
Arno | Florence | Italy | Ponte Vecchio | Toscana
Not on view

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.

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

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)

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