While the rich world of classical mythology had inspired some of Boyd’s ceramic paintings of the early 1950s, it wasn’t until a decade later that it assumed a major presence within his work. Having moved to London in 1959, Boyd had access to the great British collections and was particularly struck by two masterpieces he saw there, Death of Procris (c. 1500) by Piero di Cosimo (National Gallery, London) and Titian’s Diana and Actaeon 1556-59 (National Gallery of Scotland). Continuing Boyd’s long-held practice of using the work of old masters as a springboard for his own compositions, the Titian inspired a series of six major paintings on the theme, including Nude with beast III, as well as providing the basis for further images of the nude.
Born into one of the great Australian artistic dynasties, Arthur Merric Bloomfield Boyd primarily learned from his family; his parents, Merric and Doris Boyd, both potters and painters, and his grandfather, Arthur Boyd (1862–1940).
Text © National Gallery of Victoria, Australia.