Yliaster (Paracelsus)

Media - 1988.53 - SAAM-1988.53_1 - 67504
Copied Marsden Hartley, Yliaster (Paracelsus), 1932, oil on paperboard mounted on particleboard, 25 1428 12 in. (64.172.4 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program and by George Frederick Watts and Mrs. James Lowndes, 1988.53
Free to use

Artwork Details

Title
Yliaster (Paracelsus)
Date
1932
Dimensions
25 1428 12 in. (64.172.4 cm.)
Markings
back center in paint: 74 (crossed out) 73/YLIASTER (PARACELSUS)/Marsden/Hartley/Mexico/1932/-72 1/2- back upper center in felt-tipped pen and ink: CA11024 back upper right stamped in ink: BABCOCK/GALLERIES/ESTABLISHED 1852/20 EAST 67TH STREET, NEW YORK 10021 frame upper right and lower left stamped in ink and in pencil: BABCOCK/GALLERIES/11320 (written in a box) backing board upper right in pencil: 11320
Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program and by George Frederick Watts and Mrs. James Lowndes
Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on paperboard mounted on particleboard
Classifications
Keywords
  • Landscape — water
  • Landscape — celestial — sun
  • Landscape — imaginary
  • Landscape — mountain — Popocateptl
Object Number
1988.53

Artwork Description

To Americans in the 1930s, Mexico represented an ancient and deeply spiritual civilization much different from the industrial culture to the north. Artists and writers returned to the United States exalted by the myths and rituals that permeated the everyday lives of the Mexican people. Hartley made the trip in 1932 on a Guggenheim Fellowship, absorbing the primeval landscapes and surviving remnants of Aztec art. In a private library in Mexico City, he read that the medieval mystic Paracelsus had given the name yliaster to the base matter from which everything in the universe was made. This painting shows the volcanic peak of Popocatepetl rising from a red plain against the disk of the sun. Fire and earth contend with the intense blues in the sky and lake, completing the four elements of earth, air, fire and water that Paracelsus described.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006