Under the burden and heat of the day
Born in Ballarat, David Davies studied at the Ballarat School of
Design and the National Gallery School, Melbourne before venturing
overseas to study at the Julian Academy. It was the purchase of
this painting by James Oddie, after it was the runner up in the
National Gallery School Travelling Scholarship, that enabled
Davies to continue his studies overseas at the Academie Julian in
Paris in 1890. Oddie gave the work to the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery
one year later.
In Under the burden and the heat of the day Davies has
captured the fierce heat and white light of the Australian summer
as a boundary rider offers water to a fallen bushman or swagman who
has fallen exhausted beside a dried up waterhole. Clewin Harcourt,
a colleague and friend of Davies, noted that the artist saw "beauty
and character in the parched grass and shimmering heated
air….and rendered it with truth and delicacy of tone".