La Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista, 2015
Soft ground etching
Dimensions: 99.9 x 99.9 cm
Edition of 40
Signed and numbered by the artist
Printed by Berardinelli, Verona
The limited edition La Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista, 2015 depicts a distinctive marble screen found within the Scuola di San Giovanni Evangelista in Venice. Surrounding the central form is a motif inspired by architectural features also within the complex. The roman numerals, IV at the head of the image denote the page of the notebook where the preparatory sketch was made. The work is part of a series of soft etchings made by Tilson depicting religious buildings in Venice, where the artist has a studio.
The Scuola is a monumental complex of buildings that includes meeting halls, a church and hospital. It was founded in the 13th Century by a confraternity in order to provide a variety of charitable and artistic functions, commissioning work from artists including Titian and Tiepolo.
Joe Tilson was born in London in 1928. As a teenager he worked as a carpenter and cabinetmaker, until in 1946 when he served for three years in the Royal Air Force. Tilson studied at Central St. Martin’s and subsequently the Royal Academy of Art, where in 1955 he was awarded the Rome Prize.
By the early 1960s Tilson had achieved a highly formalised abstract language made up of elementary forms, bold colours and schematised imagery. An acute awareness of the increasing influence of the media and technology accompanied by progressive attitudes towards sexual liberation and political activism led Tilson to become one of the founding fathers of the British pop art movement.
Tilson is a dedicated printmaker, specialising particularly in traditional techniques including etching, aquatint, woodcut and carborundum. He has taught at Central St. Martins, The Slade School of Fine Art, University College London and The School of Visual Arts and has work held in major collections internationally, including MoMA, New York, the Stedelijk, Amsterdam and Tate, London.
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