Knights drew on a wealth of apparently disparate sources and points of reference to create images of staggering beauty. Painted as her entry for that year’s Prix de Rome, Knights froze a moment of biblical panic in her apocalyptic 1920 work The Deluge. Desperate women clamber to safety as Noah's boxy, grey ark floats passively along in the distance. Its dark palette and strong diagonal lines recall not most religious painting, however, but depictions by Knights' contemporaries of the First World War.
The Deluge is a frenzied snapshot, but many of Knights' other paintings unfold far more peacefully. In Santissima Trinita, inspired by the artist's own pilgrimage, a dawn-lit group of pilgrims doze in colourful shawls at the foot of the Abruzzi hills. The scene is hazily, quietly magisterial, and has more than a sense of the miracle the faithful have gathered to behold.
Born into a socialist, Fabian family, Winifred Knights believed women were equal to men, and the lives of women are an important focus in her work. The Deluge won the 1920 competition, but as a woman, Knights was never elected to the board of the British School at Rome. Her paintings, as serene as they can be severe, will surely be a highlight of the gallery's series dedicated to 'critically neglected' artists - as indeed the would be in any gallery anywhere in the world.
|What||Winifred Knights, Dulwich Picture Gallery|
Dulwich Picture Gallery
Gallery Road, London, SE21 7AD | MAP
|Nearest tube||Brixton (underground)|
08 Jun 16 – 18 Sep 16, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
|Price||£12.50, Concessions £7, Children and Members Free|
|Website||Click here to book tickets via the Dulwich Picture Gallery|