Visible Mysteries no. 8

Visible Mysteries no. 8

  • Artist

    Colin McCahon

  • Production Date


  • Medium

    acrylic on board

  • Size

    1245 x 631 x 45 mm

  • Credit

    Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 1986

  • Accession Number


  • Accession Date

    May 1986

  • Department

    New Zealand Art

  • Classification


  • Collection


  • Subjects

    hearts, Christianity, religious art, religious symbolism, symbols, faith, Koru

  • Description

    On a black background a white heart, a symbol of love and sacrifice, floats above a horizontal form suggesting an altar; beneath it a koru shape. Unlike the other works in the series, the altar is curved with no base or sides, its atmospheric paint work suggesting a sky to the rounded land form of the black background. The inclusion of the blood red or kokowai koru is also unique, inviting a range of interpretations. It can be read as Christ’s blood; the blood spilt when Ranginui (sky father) and Papatuanuku (earthmother) were separated by Tanemahuta, or the life force of the land. (McCahon's Visible Mysteries, 2004)