Vija Celmins

Constellation - Uccello (1983)

About this artwork

Celmins began experimenting with double-image prints following such double-image drawings as 'Untitled (Desert-Galaxy)' (1974), also in the ARTIST ROOMS collection. Celmins combined images from photographs she had collected which were particularly important to her. 'Constellation – Uccello' (1983) brings together Celmins's own image of the night sky and a found image of a drawing by the Renaissance master Paolo Uccello. While Uccello’s perspectival drawing of a chalice explores the representation of three-dimensional space on the flat page, Celmins's own image explores a different rendering of space. Her interest lies in the surface and flat space. She had been to Florence as a student and had greatly admired Uccello. It is likely that she traced part of the image from a book.

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  • title: Constellation - Uccello
  • accession number: AR00606
  • artist: Vija CelminsAmerican (born 1938)
  • gallery: Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art Two(In Storage)
  • object type: Work on paper
  • medium: Etching
  • date created: 1983
  • measurements: paper 69.10 x 58.50 cm (framed: 76.20 x 65.30 x 3.20 cm)
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright: © Vija Celmins.
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Vija Celmins

Vija Celmins

Born in Latvia in 1938, Cemins and her family emigrated to the United States in 1948. Although beginning her career as an Abstract Expressionist painter, she is now best known for her intricate, monochromatic drawings of a select range of subjects. In 1966 she began to use photographs as the subject for her works, creating what she described as “impossible images” which remind us of the complexity of the simplest things. These meticulous renderings of the surface of the ocean, expanses of desert, the night sky, or a spider’s web, demonstrate her fascination with the surrounding world. With a slow, painstaking approach, some of these works take up to a year to complete.