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 The series’ depictions of nine muses are infused with historical references regarding mythological references.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 sales@parkwestgallery.com to take home a work by Nixon.

Leave a comment

Prove you\'re human. *

Latest Comments

Latest News

  • Peer Through the Looking Glass With Lebo Plexiglass Art

    Enter a wonderland of vivid colors, wordplay, and animals with David “Lebo” Le Batard’s “Through the Looking Glass” series.Lebo takes his signature Postmodern Cartoon Expressionism style to new ...
    Read More
  • Art News: New Gardner Museum Lead, Herzog Court Victory, ‘Genius’ to Profile Picasso

    The art world is full of fascinating exhibitions, intriguing discoveries, and moments that shape history. Here are some of the latest news items making art headlines. New Leads in Gardner Museum ...
    Read More
  • Behind the Artist: Yuval Wolfson

    Emerging alongside the artistic renaissance of his native country, Israeli artist Yuval Wolfson possesses both the technical edge of a printmaker and the virtue of a painter. As a ...
    Read More
  • Video Premiere: The Rise of Romero Britto’s Pop Art Empire

    From painting on newspapers as a child to displaying his signature style seen across the globe, Romero Britto’s goal has always remained the same.“I ...
    Read More
  • Port of Call: Skagway, Alaska

    Experience the history of the popular port town Skagway, Alaska. Immerse yourself in the beauty of its wilderness and stroll through historic towns connected to the gold rush era.Dog ...
    Read More
  • How to Clean Your Art

    Art collectors take pride in their extensive collections, artistic knowledge, and beautiful home galleries. To keep your artwork looking its best, here are several dos and don’ts for cleaning and ...
    Read More
  • Art News: Picasso Ring, Lichtenstein Sold for $165 Million, Pollock Found in Garage

    The art world is full of fascinating exhibitions, intriguing discoveries, and moments that shape history. Here are some of the latest news items making art headlines.  Hand-Painted Pablo Picasso Ring For ...
    Read More
  • Alexandre Renoir Shares Insight Into New Renoir Museum

    Artist Alexandre Renoir recalls fond memories of spending time in his family’s summer home in Essoyes, France. Now, those very same halls are filled with the footsteps of curious ...
    Read More
  • View the 2017 Summer Sale Collection Online

    Looking for that special work of art to make your collection sizzle? Find it during Park West Gallery’s 2017 Summer Sale.The 440-piece Summer Sale contains new artwork and masterworks ...
    Read More
  • Holland America to Offer Cruises to Cuba

    Holland America Line will be warding off the winter cold with voyages to the hottest new destination—Cuba.On May 26, the cruise line announced the Veendam will set sail ...
    Read More
  • Autumn de Forest Wows Gala Crowd With Beyoncé Portrait

    What do Autumn de Forest and Beyoncé have in common? They’re both young, fierce, and unquestionably talented.In honor of the Grammy Award-winning artist, Autumn presented Tina Knowles-Lawson—fashion designer and ...
    Read More
  • Art News: ‘The Night Watch’ Sleepover, Fine Art Inspires ‘Wonder Woman,’ Top 20...

    The art world is full of fascinating exhibitions, intriguing discoveries, and moments that shape history. Here are some of the latest news items making art headlines.  Dutch Teacher Spends the Night ...
    Read More