HomageCrutching the ewes

Artists have often copied the work of another artist to pay homage or to learn about the artist’s technique. Australian artist Marcus Beilby (b. 1951) was inspired by the theme of Roberts’ Shearing the rams to create his own version of the painting. Beilby became well known in the early 1980s for his photo-realist style paintings.

After spending two years in America (1982–84) he became very aware of regional differences in people and places. When he returned to Australia he created work with a distinctly local character that explored how people are shaped by their environment. Despite its title, the subject of Crutching the ewes is shearing – a contentious point for many shearers who view the painting. While the photorealist painting pays homage to Roberts, Beilby chose a quirky title for his painting in order to differentiate his work from the original. Crutching the ewes was joint winner of the Sulman prize for genre painting at the Art Gallery of NSW in 1987.

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