How Peter Nixon Pays Tribute to History

Artists often provide insight on the various myths, artists and history that influence their style. In the artwork of Peter Nixon, he not only tells you, he shows you.

“A lot of my paintings have little insets and pictures,” Nixon says. “It’s like reading the history about a subject or the background to a subject.”

Nixon’s art is breathtaking and ethereal. His unique “Sketch Style” combines a form of Cubism with working alterations left visible in the picture, and is influenced by artists such as Titian and Sandro Botticelli. To pay homage to these artistic giants, Nixon masterfully creates airy vignettes of these masterworks within his art, overlaying them over timeless goddesses.

Peter Nixon muse

Urania – Uranus” (2014), Peter Nixon

In doing so, Nixon aims to interpret visual history in layers, drawing connections between the past and present.

To this end, Nixon extracts inspiration from Greek mythology, bringing its ancient symbolism to life. Nixon’s “Muse” series is a great example. The series’ depictions of nine muses are infused with historical references regarding mythological references.

“It’s one of those subjects that’s been done in the past, and I wanted to put my spin on it,” Nixon says.

The inset pictures in the nine paintings are 19th-century representations of the muses by artists such as Charles Le Brun and Simon Vouet. The muses were goddesses who presided over the arts and sciences, including poetry, music, history and astronomy.

Calliope – Mercury” (2013), Peter Nixon

Nixon’s interest in Greek mythology and artistic tributes to artists doesn’t end with the muses. Nixon’s historical homages are, arguably, best exemplified in his depictions of the Horae – the goddesses of the seasons (also known as the Hours or Horai). In classic Greek mythology, the goddesses are Thallo, Auxo and Xarpo, representing spring, summer and autumn, respectively.

Horae Thallo Peter Nixon Park West Gallery

“Horae Thallo” (2012), Peter Nixon

In Nixon’s “Horae Thallo,” the inset picture is a detail from Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.” In the famous painting, the Horae cover the naked Venus with a cloak.

Horae Auxo Peter Nixon Park West Gallery

Horae Auxo” (2012), Peter Nixon

“Horae Auxo” features a mythical, bearded figure from Titian’s painting, “Bacchus and Ariadne.The figure is dancing in a bacchanalian summer celebration, fitting for the goddess of summer.

Horae Xarpo Peter Nixon Park West Gallery

Horae Xarpo” (2012), Peter Nixon

In “Horae Xarpo” Nixon includes a detail from William Holman Hunt’s “The Afterglow in Egypt.” Hunt’s painting celebrates the abundance of nature with its central figure carrying a sheaf of wheat on her head, similar to the figure in Nixon’s depiction.

Nixon is willing to reveal some of the secrets behind his art, but not all. Instead, he enjoys when collectors devise their own meanings and interpretations of his art. Knowing the history is a bonus, but Nixon believes artwork “does not need to be solved like a crossword puzzle or riddle in order to appreciate it.”

To discover more hidden gems, view Park West Gallery’s Peter Nixon art collection. Contact our gallery consultants at (800) 521-9654 ext. 4 or to take home a work by Nixon.

Leave a comment

Prove you\'re human. *

Latest News

  • How Marc Chagall Came to Illustrate One of the Greatest Love Stories of...

    Bob Dylan once said that “passion is a young man’s game,” but over 60 years ago, at the age of 55, famed artist Marc Chagall illustrated one of the ...
    Read More
  • Why We Love Buying Art on Cruise Ships: Confessions of an Art Enthusiast...

    After entering their first cruise ship art auction, this couple has never looked back.Don and Tina Tritton almost missed the boat. While their ship was docked in Ketchikan during a ...
    Read More
  • The Story Behind Anatoly Metlan’s Flamenco Dancers

    Grace, poise, energy—these are the qualities one finds in skilled dancers around the world, and are almost impossible to capture in a work of art.Almost.While historically known for his beautiful ...
    Read More
  • Collect Unique Romero Britto Artwork During Our Limited-Time Sale

    Chances are you’ve seen Romero Britto’s instantly recognizable style during your travels, but odds are you’ve never seen this many unique Britto paintings in one place.Park West Gallery just ...
    Read More
  • Enjoy Art Auctions Aboard the World’s Largest Cruise Ship: Symphony of the Seas

    If you’re a fan of Royal Caribbean art auctions, something big is on the horizon.This April marks the maiden voyage of Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Symphony of the ...
    Read More
  • Daniel Wall Follows His Heart in His New Spring Collection

    Spring is that special time when flowers bloom and love is in the air, and artist Daniel Wall is one of the rare artists who can uniquely capture the ...
    Read More
  • Dominic Pangborn to Showcase Art at 2018 Winter Paralympics

    Not long after enjoying the Olympics in his native country of South Korea, artist Dominic Pangborn received an unexpected phone call from 2018 Paralympics officials.“They had talked about doing ...
    Read More
  • Auctioneer Spotlight: Lucy Orbell

    Many Park West collectors develop lasting friendships with our art teams, underscoring our 49-year reputation of connecting people from all walks of life with artwork they love.Here’s a chance to ...
    Read More
  • Music Legend Gary Puckett Transforms Park West VIP Events Into Concerts to Remember

    When you attend a Park West auction, you never know who you’re going to meet. You might meet fellow art lovers, your favorite artist, or—if you’re lucky—you might meet a ...
    Read More
  • The Surrealistic Art of Peter Max: How His Style Made Him an Art...

    Peter Max is ...
    Read More
  • Park West and Scott Jacobs Help Raise Funds for Young Musicians

    When Park West Gallery teams up with its artists for a good cause, they make great music together.Park West Gallery helped raise $7,000 for the Amelia Island Jazz Festival’s music ...
    Read More
  • 5 Facts You May Not Know About Yaacov Agam

    Israeli artist Yaacov Agam is a groundbreaking pioneer of the kinetic art movement. As such, art lovers around the world are familiar with his transformative artwork and art installations ...
    Read More