- Home ›
- The Angelic Guards ›
The Angelic Guards
Here Barry added the figure of Marcus Agrippa, the hatted man seen in profile on the right in the group of illustrious patrons, to this detail from Elysium and Tartarus 2014.052.003. He probably took this portrait from a Roman coin, and indeed, most of the notable figures in the scenes for the Royal Society of Arts were based on existing portraits…Agrippa is shown holding his famous oration, described by Pliny as advocating the public display and ownership of art as opposed to the prevailing practice of placing them in private collections. Barry compared Agrippa’s views to those expressed in his own book, A Letter to the Dilettanti Society, and his addition here is…a further reflection of the artist’s disappointment with state patronage for the arts.
Barry also reinforced the drama of this section, adding two other angelic guards: one sits behind the original guard while the other, his muscular body awkwardly secured under the bent leg of the first guard, lies at the edge of the abyss and reaches into the darkness.
from Bindman, No Cross, No Crown: Prints by James Barry from the Collection of William L. and Nancy Pressly (Notre Dame, 2016)