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Carel Willink

The Attack, 1960

In this work by Carel Willink (1900-1983), two condors attack a snake – itself primed and ready to strike. This is unusual: condors are scavengers, and rarely eat animals that aren’t already dead. The blue-green landscape with jagged rocks is in Guangxi in South China; Willink saw it in the journal ... L'Illustration. The perspective catches the viewer somewhat off guard: you look directly at the birds and rocks, while the rocky plains appear to be shown from above. Willink never painted outdoors. He preferred to find the statues, houses, animals, landscapes and overcast skies in photographs. He sought inspiration in magazines and newspapers, but also took his own photos, collecting his pictures in a personal photograph archive. Willink often meticulously reproduced his chosen photographs in his paintings. And yet he should not be considered a ‘copyist’. The photographs inspired him to create completely new worlds. Willink brought different – often contrasting – motifs together in a single picture plane, like in a collage. The painter subtly manipulated real life to create his imaginary world, which has its foundations in reality.
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Carel Willink
The Attack
Oil on canvas
110 x 144 cm (h x w)
Type of object
© Pictoright/Sylvia Willink

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