The Medium is the Message
© Ian Hamilton Finlay

Reference URL

The Medium is the Message 1987

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
This work refers to a long running feud the artist had with Strathclyde Regional Council. Finlay's work of the 1970s and 1980s features warfare as a recurring theme. In the 1980s he also turned to the French Revolution for inspiration. He investigated the power of images and symbols, particularly those associated with militarism, politics, art and Classicism. In this print, he has featured the guillotine, associated with the French Revolution, as a motif. The style of writing used has associations with Classicism.

Glossary Open


A general term for art and architecture based on ancient Greek and Roman culture.

French Revolution

A series of events that took place in 1791 leading to the end of the 'ancien régime', a complex political and social structure ruled over by an absolute monarch. Prompted by economic crisis and widespread food shortages, the Revolution resulted in the abolition of feudal rights and privileges, the reorganisation of the church, and a constitution that limited the powers of the monarch. These reforms provide the basis for the modern French state.


A distinctive element in a work of art or design.


The representation of subjects or ideas by use of a device or motif to create underlying meaning. A literary and artistic movement that originated in France and spread through much of Europe in the late 19th century. There was no consistent style but rather an appeal to the idea of the artist as mystic or visionary and the desire to express a world beyond superficial appearances.

Classicism, French Revolution , Motif, Symbolism


  • Acc. No. GMA A4.645
  • Medium Screenprint
  • Size 76.00 x 58.50 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1991