This pair of oil paintings is part of a series of works which Keith Coventry describes as 'abstract history paintings'. Listening to the stories of football hooligans, Coventry became aware that with each retelling of their story the protagonist elaborated their tale, making themselves appear more heroic. He cross-referenced this behaviour with the way Romans fought and told their tales of battle. Hence we have one part of the work with the inscription on gold at the bottom: 'A SINGLE LUTON FAN HELD AT BAY THE ATTACKING MILLWALL FANS, MARCH 1985' and 'A SINGLE ROMAN, HORATIUS, HELD AT BAY THE ETRUSCAN ARMY OF LARS PORSENA, 6TH CENTURY BC'. Coventry arrived at the conclusion that the certainties of history are an illusion. That over time a new version of events is created by the central characters of each event and this elaboration continues with each telling until the event has become more fiction than fact.
Where to see this painting?
University of Warwick
University of Warwick, Coventry, West Midlands, England, CV4 7AL
If you are planning a visit to see this painting, check with the collection first. Paintings can be moved at short notice.