Art Analysis- "Death Of Constable Scanlon" - Sidney Nolan

Essay by serjmolkoHigh School, 12th gradeB, September 2005

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When Sidney Nolan painted the Ned Kelly series, he was interested in an 'authentic national vision'. The first series was made up of 27 paintings from 1946-1947. The paintings all-together form a storyboard, telling the legend of Ned Kelly. One of them in particular is 'Death of Constable Scanlon'.

The series, including this one, were all painted with Ripolin enamel on hardboard. You can see the many brushstrokes but some objects are painted completely solid for example Ned Kelly himself and the clothes of the constable. The painting is full of things, and it is a scene from the bush land. No buildings can be seen but there are many trees and shrubs on a bare, yellow ground. The constable has fallen from his horse and they both are in mid air, while Ned Kelly is standing to the left holding a smoking rifle.

The painting is very out of proportion, this is evident in how the constable is placed.

If you look at the two rifles, the constable is in front and therefore should be larger than Ned's, but isn't. Ned is the largest object, followed closely by the constable and the horse to the right, they together make up the foreground. Going back further into the painting there is a fence, distant trees, a tent and another horse and policeman.

The figures themselves are very oddly shaped, like 2D objects cut out from paper. Ned is a simple, black silhouette with his eyes closed and hand holding the rifle. The trees and objects in the background seem to have more shape to them and show shadows that help.

The painting is made up of very warm colours, of browns, yellows and oranges. There is an interesting patch of blue sky in the to right hand corner, and...