John Bellany RA

Born: 1942

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.

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