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Gracefield Collection

Sad Monkey loses his heart

Description:

Born at Port Seton in 1942 into a family of fishermen and boat builders, John Bellany’s art is often inspired by the sea and profoundly religious in nature.

 

Throughout his career he has painted elemental allegories encompassing the complexities of the human condition. Following studies at the Edinburgh College of Art, he moved to London in 1965 to study at the Royal College, his vision and iconography becoming broader.

 

In the Seventies, when his personal life was in turmoil, he embarked on a near-fatal journey of self-destruction, which is reflected in the angst-ridden images in the paintings of the period. This was further reinforced in 1976 by a traumatic visit to the remains of the Buchenwald concentration camp. But Bellany’s life voyage has proved every bit as perilous as the sea voyages of his fishing ancestors - in the Eighties he successfully underwent a liver transplant, which inspired a remarkable series of pictures started, to the astonishment of his surgeon, within hours of regaining consciousness from the operation.

 

His towering example has inspired a new pride in Scottish artists; a fact duly recognised when he received the CBE. His paintings are in the collections of major museums and art galleries throughout the world, including the National Galleries of Scotland, The Tate Gallery, The Museum of Modern Art, New Your, and the Metropolitan Museum, New York.

Materials/Media:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
170cm x 151cm
Source:
Gracefield Arts Centre
Accession number:
377D
Digital Number:
GCFA041n
Creation Date:
1985
Copyright:
The Artist