John Bellany


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About this artwork

This triptych was exhibited at Bellany's postgraduate exhibition in 1965, when the artist was twenty-three years old. The layout of 'Allegory' derives from Grünewald's 'Isenheim' Altarpiece, but the subject matter is autobiographical. As a student, Bellany had a Saturday job gutting fish in Port Seton, a small fishing village south of Edinburgh. The setting of 'Allegory' is a mixture of Port Seton and Eyemouth (another fishing port), where Bellany's grandparents lived. The gutted haddock, displayed in the manner of the Crucifixion, become metaphors for suffering humanity; the passive fishermen replace Christ's family and the Roman soldiers. Bellany has given religious monumentality to a real-life scene.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
    John BellanyScottish (1942 - 2013)
  • title:
  • date created:
  • materials:
    Oil on hardboard (triptych)
  • measurements:
    Panel one: 212.40 x 121.80 cm; Panel two: 213.30 x 160.00 cm; Panel three: 212.50 x 121.80 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1988
  • accession number:
    GMA 3359
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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John Bellany

John Bellany

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