- Wall poster reproduction of The Origin of the Great Bear, an oil painting by Frank Auerbach.
- Poster Size: 19.7 inches x 27.5 inches (50 x 70 cm)
- Item #: 17532
The Origin of the Great Bear was commissioned by David Wilkie, an important collector of Modern British Art, in 1967. Wilkie had previously commissioned Auerbach to produce a work based on Titian’s mythological painting Tarquin and Lucretia. For this commission, Wilkie asked Auerbach to produce a painting with a Titianesque subject without referring to a specific work by Titian. The subject matter for the painting is the myth of Callisto as told in Metamorphoses. Auerbach interpreted the myth freely, scattering elements of the story within a depiction of a real place – Hampstead Heath. On the horizon is the Royal Free Hospital; the red figure is both the goddess Diana with her hounds and the Labour politician Michael Foot with his dog. The eagle form in the top left represents Jupiter as he prevents Callisto from killing his long-lost mother in bear form, which are represented by the seven bright stars as seen in the night sky.
The Origin of the Great Bear
Frank Auerbach, 1967
Oil on board, 114.6 x 140.2 cm