The Saint
© Alan Davie

Reference URL

The Saint 1948
  • Scottish Art
'The Saint' was painted in Florence, while Davie was visiting Italy on a travelling scholarship in 1948. He was inspired by the passion and freedom in the work of the American Abstract Expressionists which he saw on show that year at the Venice Biennale. This prompted his move towards more vigorous and expressive brushstrokes in his work. The painting also shows the influence of Byzantine and early renaissance art, in the subject matter. Davie's early work frequently featured the use of heavy black lines.

Glossary Open

Abstract Expressionism

Term applied to a loose grouping of New York-based artists in the mid-20th century including Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko. Internal feelings were expressed by the physical action of producing the art works.

Byzantine art

Artistic style that developed in the eastern Mediterranean under the rule of the Byzantine Empire and spread beyond its boundaries to other parts of the Christian world. It moved away from classical naturalistic figures to flat frontal figures and is best seen in mosaics and icons.


A period in European culture from the 14th to the 16th centuries in which the visual arts flourished with advances in the treatment of anatomy and the use of perspective. It is particularly associated with Italy, where it began, though the term applies elsewhere. It is noted for a revival of interest in the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.

Venice Biennale

An international art exhibition founded in 1895 and held every two years, characterised by its use of national pavilions.

Abstract Expressionism , Byzantine art, Renaissance, Venice Biennale


  • Acc. No. GMA 4110
  • Medium Oil on paper
  • Size 122.00 x 89.00 cm
  • Credit Purchased with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund 1997