Norman Lindsay (1879–1969) was a prolific, popular and controversial Australian artist. He is best known for his children’s book The Magic Pudding and his skilled prints, which mostly draw on Greek and Roman mythology and nineteenth century literature and philosophy. The Australian cultural consciousness is indelibly marked by Lindsay’s output, his prominence in the Sydney bohemian intellectual scene and by The Magic Pudding, which entrances the imagination of generation after generation of Australian children. This consciousness is marked too by the paradoxical conjunctions of Lindsay’s life: artistic bohemia and fascistic tendencies, avant-gardism and a fervour for the rule of law, libertinism and conservatism, worship and denigration.
This collection of essays examines Lindsay’s current position in Australian art history. The authors’ opinions are erudite, varied and often incendiary; few figures are as divisive as Lindsay.
Film critic Adrian Martin writes alongside Ian McLean, the Hugh Ramsay Chair of Australian Art History at the University of Melbourne, art historian Cameron Hurst, and literary critic Jeremy George. Art historian Soo-Min Shim responds to a video work by artist James Nguyen.
The project develops research conducted during an exhibition of the University of Melbourne’s Norman Lindsay collection, also titled Venus in Tullamarine, held at the George Paton Gallery in 2022.