Stunning large colour etching by this well known master Australian printmaker, number 3 from the small edition of 15. This etching is of the Henri IV full face helmet.
Between 2001 -2002, Raymond Arnold made a suite of eight etchings in response to a painting he saw in the Louvre of Henri IV of France in full armour. The series was also inspired by a trip to First World War graves in France, where his grandfather and many other young Australian men died in action.
In each print Arnold depicts one of the component parts from a suit of armour against a ground of synthetic lace. The armour is overlaid with a traditional Provencal textile design that goes back centuries but is still found on today’s French market stalls. The sense of both strength and vulnerability evoked by the armour plays against the associations of the lace and the traditional pattern: delicacy but ‘cheapness’, implicit expendability and working-class origins. The images bring together a variety of themes including war, violence, the fragility of the male body, the use of young working-class men as gun fodder in the war, and collective memory. Source V &A.
References: Butler NGA, ‘Australian Prints
Art Gallery New South Wales
National Gallery Australia
National Gallery Victoria
Queensland Art Gallery
Victoria & Albert Museum