Ian Hamilton Finlay

Et in Arcadia Ego

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About this artwork

This carved stone sculpture refers to a famous painting of the same name by the seventeenth-century French painter Nicholas Poussin, which shows a group of shepherds looking at an inscription on a tomb in a pastoral setting. The title is a ‘memento mori’ in Latin which can be translated as ‘I am also in Arcadia’, as if spoken by the personification of Death. Just as Poussin hints that even in an idyll death is present, so Finlay uses the image of modern warfare to remind us of the way we invade the world of nature with our weapons. The hills and trees can be found in the Poussin painting and although the tomb has become a tank made of bricks it is nonetheless a powerful symbol of death.

  • title:
    Et in Arcadia Ego
  • accession number:
    GMA 1583
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • subject:
  • materials:
    Stone
  • date created:
    1976
  • measurements:
    28.10 x 28.00 x 7.60 cm
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1976
  • copyright:
    © By courtesy of the estate of Ian Hamilton Finlay
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve

Ian Hamilton Finlay

Ian Hamilton Finlay