The Fourth


  • From a limited edition of 5 archival photographs
  • Signed and numbered by artist A K Nicholas
  • Image: 30×20 inches/76×51 cm
  • Paper: 32×22 inches/81×56 cm



An aquatic composition; a photograph recalling an allegorical painting of Faustian nymphs. Three nymphlike figures revel in a moonlit lagoon while the fourth stands nearby, lost in her thoughts. The trio float face-up, hands joined behind their backs in a ring of bodies. The fourth either removes herself or is excluded from the smiles and laughter. She stands rather than floats, and her earnest expression contrasts with their amusement.

She shows concern despite their merriment, or perhaps in opposition to it. Although the narrative is ambiguous, this is clearly a tale of dissimilar mindsets. She could be a leader or an outcast, her disposition and fate are both enigmatic. This separation could just be momentary or something deeper. Regardless of the full story, it is clear that she is excluded from the merriment both physically and emotionally.

Muted ambers give way to shadowy olive and deep prussian blue in this moody composition. The composition is a study in contrast and comparison. The subdued, shadowy hues are somber, yet the golden highlight reflections are uplifting.

This image was influenced by maritime art depicting mermaids, nymphs, and sirens. This type of allegorical painting frequently included nude figures.

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