1980, 9 Minutes
‘The Spirit of the Plains’ painted in 1897 is recognised today as Australian artist Sydney Long’s finest work.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the imagination of many painters, among them Sydney Long, was captured by a romantic, poetic approach to the Australian landscape. In his creation of an indigenous population of nymphs and satyrs for the bushland he so loved, this film reveals to us Long's efforts to find common ground between European allegorical traditions, the decorative qualities of Art Nouveau and the quest for an Australian identity.
The film also examines in detail the various later versions and adaptations of the title work, which Long etched or painted during his years in England.
A synthesis of decorative qualities and gentle symbolism, 'The Spirit of the Plains' is a perfect example of the Art Nouveau style in its Australian form.
Produced by Film Australia in collaboration with the Queensland Art Gallery and the Queensland Film Corporation. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Director/Writer/Cinematographer: David Muir
Total Running Time: 9 Minutes
Curriculum Links: Art History, Visual Arts.