May 1959 (Porta San Jacopo, San Gimignano)
© Angela Verren Taunt 2013. All rights reserved, DACS

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May 1959 (Porta San Jacopo, San Gimignano) May 1959
San Gimignano, near Siena in Italy, is a well-preserved Renaissance hill-town. Nicholson first visited it in 1950 but returned on several occasions following his relocation to Switzerland in 1958. The combination of architecture and landscape suited Nicholson because it allowed him to mix geometry with natural forms. Here he has captured the curvature of a stone archway in the town. These confident, singular lines of the man-made forms contrast to the feverish scribble of the tree in the background. The warm wash of oil paint gives the work a continental glow of spring sunshine. This emphasises Nicholson’s statement: “When I draw an Italian cathedral I don’t draw its architecture, but the feeling it gives me”.

Glossary Open


A transparent layer of diluted ink or watercolour.



  • Acc. No. GMA 4880
  • Medium Pencil and oil wash
  • Size Paper: 36.00 x 51.00 cm (framed: 49.00 x 64.00 cm)
  • Credit Bequeathed by Felicitas Vogler 2007