Boyd often painted powerful allegorical stories from the bible -- including this story from the Old Testament depicting the trials of Nebuchadnezzar.
Set in 605–561 BC, the King of Babylon demonstrated great hubris by presuming to create an empire of his own, without the aid of God. For punishment God banished Nebuchadnezzar to the wilderness for seven years to lead the life of an animal.
Partly inspired by this old bible story, Boyd's Nebuchadnezzar in a fire (1969) also captures a moment in the artist's life where he witnessed the self-immolation of an anti-Vietnam war protestor on Hampstead Heath.
The Nebuchadnezzar narrative communicated the need to face up to one’s guilt, a sentiment Boyd considered relevant to relations between his personal attitudes and art practice: ‘The only way to deal with [guilt] as an artist was to paint it out of my system. To expunge my own guilt by painting it and in a way face up to it. I mean guilt in a general sense, because although I do the painting, everyone else who then looks at it is in the same position as myself. I hopefully have helped them to face their guilt also,’ Arthur Boyd quoted from Arthur Boyd: Seven Persistent Images by Grazia Gunn.
Image: Arthur Boyd, Nebuchadnezzar in a fire (1969). Courtesy @bundanontrust - 4 days ago