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Celebrating Townsville Exhibition - The Artists

Educational resources regarding the artists participating in JCU Library's "Celebrating Townsville" exhibition for the T150 project

Naxos Mirror

Naxos Mirror, by Robert Preston

b. 1942 United Kingdom
Naxos Mirror 1984
Casein, dry ground pigment, charcoal, pastel, conte, crayon and chalk on canvas
159 x 125 cm
Purchased by James Cook University from the exhibition,
DRAWINGS x 4 held at Perc Tucker Gallery in 1984 and travelled in 1985
Photograph: Michael Marzik

Naxos Mirror, by Robert Preston

Naxos Mirror (1984),
by Robert Preston (1942-).
Photograph: Michael Marzik

The image Naxos Mirror is derived from the decorated flat side of an ancient pottery artefact created in the shape of a frying pan. These artefacts, found in graves in the Cycladic islands off the coast of Greece, are around 5000 years old. They nearly all represent female figures with non-functioning legs for a handle. The artist studied these ceramics in the Museum of Archaeology in Athens.

The pictures which appeared on the Cycladic frying pan vessels were either engraved or stamped and in-filled with lime or a white substance. They depict stylised symbols for ocean waves, the sun, moon and stars, dolphins, boats and occasionally seabirds. Archaeologists are not sure of the real intent of these mysterious objects, however, they are thought to have had a magical purpose. Filled with water and placed in the grave, the reflections of the moon and stars would be brought into the grave to give light to the dead as they travelled into the after-life.

Early Cycladic II “Frying Pans”

Figure 1. Early Cycladic II “Frying Pans”
National Museum Athens,(Dan Diffendale, 2008).

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