PANZER MK IV: HOMAGE TO POUSSIN 1976
Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925 – 2006)
- 26 X 69 X 28 CM
- WOOD AND WOOD INLAY
- Accession number
Tank: Homage to Poussin. This is in different coloured woods (solid, rather than built on a box principle); it is 28” o.a. in length; the turret rotates and the gun elevates (by hand). The work is extremely well made, the wood inlay being quite immaculate. The ‘notion’ (so to put it) – i.e. the implicit concept of the work is contained in the following couplet (from an unpublished little book of mine):
Camouflage is Fields and Streams and Trees
In Ideal Form – which none but Poussin sees.
Or to put it another way: In the spirit of literary conceit, one might say that camouflage is the last or final form of classical landscape painting, since it ignores the particular in favour of the general.
The simplification of the tank which is a German Panzer Mk IV – the ‘classic’ (sic) German tank of World War II – is based on that used by the German technical model-makers of the period – i.e. on the photographs of the surviving models. These were made in wood, and are very handsome.
As a matter of interest, I have a letter from Albert Speer (Hitler’s Minister of Armaments) explaining the aesthetic pleasure he found in tanks at that period of history. But I think I determined to make the work when I read, in a magazine devoted to military modelling, the words, ‘There is no such thing as beautiful camouflage’. What nonsense: see my ‘Classification of Panzer camouflage ‘ in my Taschenbusch der Panzer’.)
Letter from the artist dated 28 August 1985