Scene in Paradise

CECIL COLLINS RA (1908-1989) Biography
SYMBOLISM (founded 1886) Biography

Scene in Paradise (England, 1964)

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Tempera on board
Signed and dated 1964; signed, inscribed Scene in Paradise and 35 Selwyn Gardens Cambridge England and dated February 16th 1964 on the reverse

Dimensions

91.00cm high
76.00cm wide
(35.83 inches high)
(29.92 inches wide)
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Provenance

Arthur Tooth & Sons, London
Private collection, Norfolk, England

Literature

Brian Keeble, Cecil Collins: The Vision of the Fool and other writings, Golgonooza Press 1994, page 158, illustrated plate 14

Exhibition History

London, Arthur Tooth & Sons, Cecil Collins, 1965

Description / Expertise

... The secret desire of our heart is for the lost Paradise.

It is the motive impulse behind our searching in things and experiences on every level, in friendship, in beauty, in art, even in the smallest lust, even in the smallest love. It is the lost Paradise that we are seeking.

What is this Paradise? This time of innocence and perfect virtue at the onset of creation has been captured in world mythology since the beginning of creation: from the Golden Age of Chronos described by Hesiod; to the first age of the Egyptians; to the time known as the Krita Yuga described in the Mahabharata; to the many paradise myths of the Indian tribes of the Americas to that most familiar in the West, the story of Eden. We remember and mourn for that Paradise because that is where as individual souls we come from. It is the land of angelic perfection and wisdom, and the memory of that land is the prime subject of the composer, the poet and the artist. (1)

But Collins was not mourning for a lost Paradise as such. He believed that the first fall of man was necessary; that man had to lose that Paradise in order to win experience and wisdom. The memory of Paradise together with the hope of regaining it provided him with his chief stimulus for creativity. Collins believed that the second Paradise, the Great Happiness, would be greater than the first because it would be known with the fullness of experience. His Scene of Paradise encapsulates those beliefs.

1. Cecil Collins, Art and Modern Man, Autumn 1964, vol. 12 p. 324