The guardian | Laura Cumming:
Out walking, you are confronted by a long column of trees approaching across a bare winter landscape. You stop, and it seems as if they stop too. Stationed before them – the field marshal commanding his troops – stands a stone pillar topped with a pale sphere. And this sphere has a peculiarly exact echo in the white moon hanging beside it in the sky: English pastoral geometry.
Pillar and Moon is not just one of Paul Nash’s greatest works, it encapsulates the painter’s gift for mood, mystery and strange alignment. Every element of the scene is independently familiar – the parade of vertical trunks, the low-hanging moon, the architectural remnant of some aristocratic parkland – but all are made extraordinary and oneiric. The positioning of the two discs may be significant, or meaningless, but it holds the mind in wonder. The atmosphere feels dazed and convalescent… Read more
Image: ‘The atmosphere feels dazed and convalescent’: Paul Nash’s masterly Pillar and Moon, 1932-42. Photograph: © Tate