Colin McCahon

The Promised Land

The Promised Land by Colin McCahon

Artwork Detail

McCahon, in a rare example of self-portraiture, includes himself in this painting. He stands in place of the prophet Moses; the hills of Nelson, with Golden Bay inset, are his Israel. The title of the painting hangs in the sky as if it were an utterance from the angel who hovers above the hills. As befits a scene of proclamation, the jug suggests the purity of the land and the burning candle light and hope. The candle, however, is also a traditional symbol of vanitas; that is, the transient nature of human life. (McCahon's Visible Mysteries, 2004)

The Promised Land
Colin McCahon
Production date
Aug 1948
oil on canvas
1045 x 1475 x 33 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the McCahon Family, 1988
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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