John Bellany RA
Bellany was born into a family of fishermen and
boat-builders on 18th June 1942 in Port Seton, East Lothian. His father and
grandfather were fishermen and he worked gutting fish during his student days.
Much of his work reflects the inspiration that he drew from the coastal
communities from which he came. He spent a great deal of time in Eyemouth on
the Scottish borders.
John Bellany was perhaps one of the best known Scottish
figurative painters of recent years. During his life and career, he gained a
huge reputation in the art world. His paintings are still to be found in the
Tate Britain, all the major Scottish Galleries, and in museums throughout the
world including The Museum of Modern Art New York and the Metropolitan Museum
New York. In 1994 he was awarded the CBE.
Bellany's paintings have been compared to Beckmann
and Breughel, the clarity of line in his drawings and etchings have been
compared to that of Rembrandt. He has produced intense, highly coloured works
filled with symbolism which comment on the complexities of the human condition.
However, most importantly Bellany has established his own artistic identity, an
identity that is clearly identifiable and which has brought him tremendous
recognition. His large scale works often incorporate hybrid human and animal
forms, while towards the end of his career his work became less tortured,
more optimistic and increasingly mellow.
Bellany passed away in 2013 but leaves behind a remarkable
legacy. Bellany was arguably one of Scotland's greatest modern figurative
painters and throughout his career he produced an extraordinary and influential
body of work.