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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

The Face of the Ice Barrier - Antarctica

A close up view of the ice shelf
Description: Painting, Watercolor on Paper; by Standish Backus; 1956; Unframed Dimensions 8H X 12W
Accession #: 88-186-BC
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"Nature, in the role of contemporary architect, is forever redesigning the facade of what might be thought of as her Antarctic Pentagon Building, namely the faces of the great ice shelves surrounding the land. As the sea undercuts and the overhangs break away revealing further crevassing, fantasies of three-dimensional form constantly passed before the eye of the critic. He is mentally stimulated to project the graceful lines of cleavage or the broken lines of fracture into space. Probably he will note architectural features such as arches, vaults, buttresses, groins, coping, pilasters, or corbel tables viewing with the sculptural free forms. The ice face itself with the snows blowing from the top and the wind whipping the surface of the water below seems to be a dividing zone between the sky and the sea and is in fact a part of each. From the air, one is reminded of great fingernails growing out from the heart of the continent and constantly wearing themselves down clawing at the harsh abrasive of the stormy seas."--Commander Standish Backus.

Topic
  • Exploration, Expeditions and Voyages
Document Type
  • Art
Wars & Conflicts
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Location of Archival Materials