Ian Howard RSA_Vanitas

Vanitas  mixed media on canvas 200 x 230 cm



Vanitas I and II  photographic prints 115 x 103 cm

Vanitas, the silent rush of time passing. Nearly all still lifes include the aspect of vanitas, a lament for the transcience of things: the skull, the overturned wine glass, the extinguished candle. Perhaps also a metaphysical criticism of knowledge and its futility in the face of eternity. The fame of lofty deeds must perish like a dream.

Glass, through its transparency and shine, has the rare virtue of simultaneously animating and distancing the objects it covers, endowing them with both life and death. This is why it was used in the Middle Ages to protect the relics of saints, and later on to add distinction to all cult objects, from material remains that signaled a mystical relation to nature, to those art objects whose status deserved, or simply needed, such veneration.



6 c

Uccello – screenprint with etching 107cm x 76cm


Chalice – working drawing

P1010873 copy

Chalice – mixed media on wood 30cm x 20cm

(c) Prof. Ian Howard; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Symmetry – detail

“Paulo Uccello’s pioneering and beautiful geometrical analysis of that most holy form, the chalice, is a renaissance exercise in the coding of three dimensional form which prefigures the spherical geometries of Reid, Reimann and Einstein, not to mention the spatial nets which underpin computer graphics.

This is a geometry of the mind which can transmute without warning from the parameters of mathematics to the edges of religious symbolism and back again. Here ………in Uccello above….. it is filled with an uncanny light which glows from within. Legends turn on the talismanic properties of the chalice and the secrets it can bestow. It is the medieval form of the collision between Christian doctrine and magic”.

Professor Murdo MacDonald

EMBLEMATA Published by Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee, 1998

ISBN 1 899837 23 X




Dat Rosa Mel Apibus

mixed media on wood 38cm x 30 cm



mixed media on wood 38cm x 30cm

Blood quotes from Fouquet’s portrait of Charles VII’s mistress Agnes Sorel, which is an exceptionally sophisticated and scandalous painting portraying Agnes as the Blessed Virgin with her left breast bared. Among other things, Agnes is commemorated in several dishes including, appropriately

Suprême de Volaille Agnès Sorel (breasts of chicken in a Madeira sauce on rice flavored with truffles, mushrooms and tongue).



mixed media on wood  136cm x 100cm

st1 copy

Pilgrim II

mixed media and wax on wood 30cm x 38cm


Pilgrim I

mixed media on wood 28cm x 38cm

Ultramarine. Colour: It has the appearance of deep-sapphire or corn-flower blue depending on the stone. Material appearance: transparent particles of varying sizes, mostly flat, with a splintered corner outline and a shell-shaped uneven fracture. Chemical Composition: Sulphur containing sodium and calcium silicate. The blue colour is created by the sulphur radical compounds enclosed within the silicate lattice.


The Invisible College

mixed media on wood 136cm x 100cm

The Invisible College of the Rosicrucians. Contemporary examples include: the Church of Mithra in Brussels, the Astara of Lausanne, the Fraterinty of Isis in Grenoble, the Grail Foundation of America, the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, Lectorium Rosicrucianum in Holland, the Bavarian Illuminati of San Francisco and the Templar Alliance of Toulouse to name but a very few.


Published by Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee, 1998

ISBN 1 899837 23 X

Ian Howard, Murdo MacDonald, Kevin Henderson




by Ian Howard

Date painted: 1998
Oil on board, 136.4 x 175.6 cm
Collection: Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture
The left panel reproduces Paolo Uccello’s ‘Perspective Study of a Chalice’, c.1450, which is in the collection of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The incorporation of this image highlights Ian Howard’s interest in science and the work of early Renaissance artists. Many of his paintings make references to iconic Renaissance imagery. The title of the Diploma Work ‘Symmetry’ possibly alludes to the perfect symmetry and precision of Uccello’s chalice. There are a number of alchemical images incorporated into the painting. Flanking the perspectival drawing of the chalice are what appear to be two glass jars with various esoteric transfer printed images that have possibly been copied from alchemical textbooks.

The right hand panel reproduces in part Vittore Carpaccio’s painting ‘Saint George and the Dragon’, dated 1504–1507, in the collection of Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, Venice. The image of Carpaccio’s dragon is a recurring motif in many of Ian Howard’s paintings and prints. Ian Howard has also distilled some of the architectural images from the original painting into his Diploma Work. Ian Howard’s work often plays upon oppositions and in this case George and the Dragon represents the opposition of good and evil.

“Symmetry, of the reliquary, the shrine, the altarpiece, is ironized, put into quotes. Objects cease to be stage properties and become emblems. Emblems of what? Above all emblems of emblems. An infinite and unpredictable series of historical and future meanings, hermetic and paranoid, interpretations in which nothing exists by chance”.

Alan Woods

Heretical Diagrams; Ian Howard: a publication of 80 pages and 20 colour plates with essays by Alan Woods, which places the print series in the context of the artist’s other work; Jane Lee, whose comprehensive text unravels the iconography and charts the sources of the imagery in the wider history of ideas; and Arthur Watson, who describes the technical aspects of the work.

Published by Peacock Printmakers, Aberdeen  1996 ISBN 0 952 3608 2 9


Bruno Consigned to the Flames

Bruno Consigned to the Flames

Bruno Consigned to the Flames
by Ian Howard

Mixed media on wood, 136 x 100 cm
Collection: The Fleming Collection, London
Howard produced a series of prints in 1996 entitled ‘Heretical Diagrams’ with the Peacock Printmakers, Aberdeen. ‘Bruno Consigned to the Flames’ relates to this series of works.

Key to both the painting and ‘Heretical Diagrams’ is the Neo-Platonist philosopher, Bruno, who was consigned to the flames in 1600 for heresies which included, among other errors, the defence of Copernicus.


Printworks -Works on paper

Crux Crux

Giordano  Tulip

The Bisected Count        San Sebastian

Philopsophical Furnace I     Philosophical Furnace II

Established in Chicago in 1980, Printworks Gallery specializes in works on paper including prints, original drawings, photography and artists’ books. Printworks Gallery represents a large number of established artists whom are widely recognized. Printworks Gallery has made a commitment to promote the work of important emerging artists. Prints and drawings from Printworks Gallery have been placed in the permanent collection of major institutions around the world including the Tate Gallery in London, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hirshhorn Museum and National Museum of American Art in Washington DC, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Australian National Gallery.