nicholas nicola etchings



Trojan Horse sketch.* Based on a Sculpture-by-the-Sea scultpture. Tamarama Beach. Sydney.

Many of the following etchings make reference to ancient myths; mainly those from Ancient Greece.

  • the human spirit rests (S)
  • iphigenia  (S)
  • achilles    (S)
  • zeus terribilis  (S)
  • cyclops  (M)
  • eurydice mourns (M)
  • hermes about to take flight (S)
  • atlas about to lift the world (S)
  • hector  (S)
  • ancient homage to the cypriot (L)
  • lithuanian angel  (M)
  • australian cronus  (M)

             small (S) medium (M) large (L) extra large (XL) not available (N/A) 



                                                             56  ‘The Human Spirit Rests.’

                                              B&W. 4”X2.5”. copperplate. S

 This ‘spirit’ (along with Iphigenia & Achilles) are based on charcoal drawings I have made from attending a life drawing class which a friend has encouraged me to go to; while she elegantly draws accomplished likenesses of the model before us I ‘scratch away’ with charcoal but from my less-than-elegant sketches I hope to use them as the basis to eventually do a larger series of etchings mainly using mythological figures as a general theme. I have a strong interest in Ancient History & Ancient Mythology especially as it shows me the consistency of both the folly, horror and goodness of human nature, fate and the gods. I highly recommend reading Meditations by the Stoic Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius In case you are wondering this particular etching is of the back of a female model.


                                              57  ‘Iphigenia’

                                         B&W.3”X4”aquatint. copperplate. S. N/A.

Iphigenia was pragmatically sacrificed by her father Agamemnon – the military commander of the Greek army that would attack Troy. - to appease the goddess Artemis so the winds would return to take the Greek fleet to Troy. Iphigenia is seen here tragically awaiting her death; having been lured to her it by her father’s promise that she would be married to Achilles.




                                               ‘Achilles.’ B&W. 10cmX7cm. aquatint. zinc plate S

Achilles the hero of the Greeks was the perfect killing machine. A self-absorbed demi-god who it can be argued was compelled more so by battle lust - than by any noble cause - to wreak his violence on the battlefield.



                                                                         Achilles charcoal sketch




                                                         59  Zeus terribilis.

                                                                              B&W. 3” X 4”. copperplate. S. N/A.

This image originally started out as a portrait of my father as I often identify him with this lordly Greek god. However, the face – through  a few re-workings – changed itself to a more general depiction of an old Greek man (A ‘spiritual portrait’ rather than a strictly physical resemblance – as an old friend wistfully pointed out to me and who knows my father well - which I agree with…) for many of  these ‘elderly Zorbas’ share the same furrowed dark lines; often so pathologically, obsessively worried with the material aspects of this world and family; (which can be summed up with one word: money). I name him Zeus terribilis due to the fact that this divine Greek patriarch would have much in common with an old Greek man such as my father (who does have the quick temper of this thunder god) and when one reads the old Ancient Greek legends the reader is often confronted by the sleazy, moral corruptibility of these divine beings who - often absent-mindly - bring tragedy, murderous hate, misery, insurmountable suffering etcetera to the mortals they strenuously attempt to overlord; this foul, damning characteristic of the gods stands out as a much stronger feature than any romantic, paternal notion that they may belatedly conjure (& which some of us may also wishfully accentuate ) up of themselves. 





                                               60  ‘Cyclops.’

                                          B&W.6”X4”.copperplate. M

This dignified image of the dreaded, callous Cyclops is based on a photo of an ancient statue in a book that looks at the geography of Odysseus’s travels.

It is said that Homer was a master narrator to make his audience actually feel pity for the Cyclops when Odysseus and his men blind him (with a stake stabbed into his eye) so as to make good their escape.


                                       61  ‘Eurydice Mourns.’

                                   B&W. 4”X5”. zinc plate. M

This image intimates Eurydice in the Underworld playing her flute while meditating on love lost - a too common melancholy human reflection. Orpheus is gone, ‘doomed’ to return to the surface without his lover - due to his own careless forgetfulness. What is also forgotten is Eurydice herself as the narrative of this tragic story focuses on Orpheus’s misery. Yet, what is soothing is the legacy of his music for Eurydice which I like to think provides a beautiful solace for her sad, imprisoned soul. 



        62. Hermes about to take flight.

                                                                 2.5" X 1". sepia. sugarlift. copperplate. S.  N/A.                                           


Hermes charcoal drawing.



               63Atlas about to lift the World.

                         3"X1". sepia. sugarlift. copperplate. S N/A.


                                                                                64. Hector

                                                    1"X2". B&W. copperplate. S. N/A.

A photograph of Thiere Henri while he was Arsenal captain was used to 'model' this image. In regards to the English Premier League I should declare in the interests of transparency that I am an Arsenal supporter.  However, I congratulate Thiere Henri's present team Barcelona in 2009 winning the Champion Leagues against Manchester United; especially considering that Barcelona has UNICEF emblazoned on its jerseys. Bravo.



           65. Ancient Homage to the Cypriot.  

In commemoration to the Greek Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis for eaching the 2006 Australian Open Final.

B&W. 8”X5”. zinc plate. L.

Another cross-cultural which this etching has the well-known Discus Thrower holding a tennis racquet is in reference to the well-liked ‘unknown’ Marcus Baghdatis from Cyprus famously reaching the Australian Open Final in 2006; where he was finally defeated by Roger Federer. However, this resolute, positive minded underdog did win the first set. It was said that the Greek Cypriot Club in Stanmore overflowed with people into the street to watch the match; such was the size of the crowd. I should reveal that I was born in Melbourne and that both my parents migrated from Cyprus.



                                                                      66. Lithuanian Angel.

                                                    (Orpheus in the River). B&W. 6”X4” copperplate. M



When I eventually saw this angel head in the river at Uzupis in Vilnius I was reminded of Orpheus who had his decapitated head thrown into a river by the jealous Maemids who were female followers of Dionysus. It is said Orpheus’s head cried out his love for Eurydice as he floated down the waters. The angel head was carved in an artist’s community by the river in Uzupis which is a sort of bohemian area in Vilnius and it was also an area where many Russians lived; in the pub by the river artists & writers would gather and I remember they were organising to have an angel monument built in the main street of Uzipus for an artist friend who had died before time.




                       Lithuanian angel head which to me stands as Orpheus in a river in the Uzupis district of Vilnius.





                                                                                  Lithuanian Angel under creation.



                                                                                  Postcard of Angel in Uzupis






                                               67. Australian Cronus.

                                                      6"X4". B&W. copperplate.  M. N/A.


This image is obviously based on Goya's Saturn eating his children which I interpret as dealing with the horrors of our own inhumanity. I have appropriated the image to reflect my anger at the Howard government's apalling treatment of refugees. I believe there is a legimate case for John Howard to be indicted at the Hague for crimes against humanity.Although, it should be remembered that it was the Australian Labor Party when in government before the Liberals that established the 'gulag' of detention centres in the Australian deserts; far away from the required legal services that refugees have a right to have easy access too as stated under international human rights and refugees conventions to which Australia has signed.   


FURTHER INFORMATION: Australian Cronus. B&W. 6”X4”. zinc plate. Cronus (the Greek god who ate his


There was the Ancient Greek diety Cronus eating his own chldren to secure his control over the universe; much like what we see this Australian Cronus eating an asylum seeker from a detention centre. After all, refugees had become the ‘sacrificial victims’ in the Howard government’s emotional manipulation of an increasingly insular electorate so as to secure itself as the trusted guaranteer of ‘Australian values’; thus aiding the government to keep its hold on power especially in the 2001 election which was held fortiously for the Liberal Party after both the Tampa incident and the devestating  terror attacks on the Pentagon, Washington and World Trade Center twin towers, NY on September 11. I recently read an article about the SIEV X memorial in Weston Park, Canberra; (Arena magazine Feb-March, 2008 Commemorating the SIEV X by Julie Stephens) there are 353 poles set out in the shape of the boat that sunk leading to 353 refugees drowning in the waters between Indonesia and Australia. Obviously each pole represents each life lost and are all poignantly handpainted by different sections of the Australian community such as school and church groups. The article looks at the issue of cultural memory (and perhaps in this case it can be said the memorial allows such an atrocity from succumbing to cultural amnesia). The use of poles is apt as in northern Australia poles serve the function of totems for the spirits of the dead and in Indonesia we came across the scene of dead babies carefully placed inside a tree; in area of Indonesian cosmology (there are so many belief systems in this vast archipelego made up of so many different peoples – under Javanese authority) there is the notion of the cosmic tree conecting earth to heaven. It should be noted that Cronus failed in consuming Zeus who eventually rebelled against his father and took over lordship of the creation. In regards to the treatment of aslum seekers in this country I eventually portyrayed the Prime Minister John Howard in the following way:


Australian Fuhrer. Placed here in relation to the above image. This etching is based on John Heartfield's satirical photomontage of Adolf Hitler.  (Full details in Offcuts 2005-2009).


 Babies buried in a tree. Indonesia.

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