This study guide will help you analyze the short story “The Painting” by Bruce Chatwin, which can be found in the textbook Gateways (pp. 238-243). You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective.
Note that an adapted version of the short story has also been used for a 2018 exam in Engelsk fellesfag entitled Diversity in English-speaking countries.
Presentation of the text
Title: “The Painting” (1987)
Author: Bruce Chatwin
Genre: Short story
Bruce Chatwin was born in England in 1940, during World War II. From an early age, he developed an interest in antiquities. After college, he worked in the Antiquities and Impressionist Art department at Sotheby’s, eventually making a name for himself as an arts and antiquities advisor, as well as a travel writer.
The story “The Painting” is taken from Chatwin's book The Songlines, written after a trip to Australia for the purpose of researching traditional Aboriginal songs. Chatwin challenged the perception of himself as a travel writer, by claiming he was a storyteller who was interested in penning unusual tales.
You can read a short excerpt from our study guide below: