Figure Kneeling Before Arch with Skulls


Jackson Pollock ( American, 1912 - 1956 )

c. 1934-1938
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General Description

This early painting by Jackson Pollock shows that his artistic pursuits were wide-reaching, incorporating elements of Surrealism, Mexican Muralism, and Renaissance painting. In the early 1930s, Pollock studied at the Art Students League in New York, where he was closely mentored by American Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton. Pollock's sketchbooks contain drawings after works by Rubens, Michelangelo, and Rembrandt. The largest number of sketches are based on his studies of El Greco. In Figure Kneeling Before Arches with Skulls, the 16th-century painter's influence on Pollock is particularly evident in the horizontal division of the picture plane, the oval flow of the composition, and the repeated use of jagged lines and triangular forms.

Excerpt from

  • Gavin Delahunty, "Figure Kneeling before Arch with Skulls," in TWO X TWO X TWENTY: Two Decades Supporting Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art, ed. Anna Katherine Brodbeck (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art, 2018), 265.

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