Dovecot Studios after Leon Kossoff
Study from ‘Minerva Protects Pax from Mars’ by Rubens, 2021
Wool and cotton
300 x 400 cm
Woven by Naomi Robertson, David Cochrane and Emma Jo Webster
A monumental piece, this is the first time an artwork by the expressionist painter Leon Kossoff (1926-2019) has been translated into tapestry. The commission took one year to weave and restarted the tapestry studio after the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.
Leon Kossoff is considered one of the most important painters of post-war Britain. Known for his expressionist portraits and depictions of urban life, Kossoff was drawn to the work of the Old Masters including Nicolas Poussin, John Constable, and Peter Paul Rubens. Kossoff’s painting Study from ‘Minerva Protects Pax from Mars’ by Rubens is a highly charged anti-war composition in which Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, helps to drive away Mars, the god of war. Originally conceived by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Kossoff was captivated by the subject and design of Rubens’ 1630 painting and made multiple studies in charcoal as well as oil paintings.
While Kossoff’s expressive and assertive brushstrokes and the depth of his palette pose a new creative challenge for Dovecot, his majestic painting allowed the team of weavers to highlight their own expressive skills and to experiment with both texture and colour on a huge scale.
This project was a collaboration with the Leon Kossoff Artistic Estate, Piano Nobile gallery, and Parabola, the visionary developer behind the creation of Edinburgh Park, a new public realm in the west of the city where the tapestry now hangs. This commission represents the importance of tapestry as a public artform in Scotland and is a statement of intent for Edinburgh.
Images: Leon Kossoff Study from ‘Minerva Protects Pax from Mars’ by Rubens (1981) Leon Kossoff Artist Trust, courtesy of Piano Nobile, Robert Travers (Works of Art) Ltd. | Leon Kossoff and Dovecot Studios, Minerva protects Pax from Mars, 2020-21. Andy J Mather Photography, Edinburgh Parks Photographer in Residence as part of their commitment to encourage emerging artists in and around Edinburgh.