About this artwork

Professional artists working in Edinburgh in the 1930s and 1940s were inclined to follow a particular path, which was based on the French belle peinture [beautiful painting] tradition, with a focus on landscape and still-life. However, because Lucas was an amateur painter, he could develop in a completely free and idiosyncratic direction, marking him out as one of the most unusual Scottish artists of the twentieth century. This is one of Lucas’s first oil paintings. The curious imagery (the triangular forms to the left of the bird are upside-down ice-cream cones) and title almost certainly derive from the work of the Belgian surrealist, René Magritte. Surrealism was widely exhibited in Edinburgh in the late 1930s so Lucas would have been exposed to such influences.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    The Shape of the Night
  • date created:
    1939
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    61.40 x 46.00 cm (framed: 78.90 x 63.50 x 6.40 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Presented by Alan and Frank Lucas, in memory of their father, Edwin Lucas, 2013
  • accession number:
    GMA 5373
  • gallery:
  • glossary:
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Edwin Lucas

Edwin Lucas

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