John Bellany, born in 1942 in Port Seton, east of Edinburgh, is one of Scotland’s most outstanding contemporary artists, and to celebrate his 70th birthday year, works from a career spanning over fifty years have been brought together in this retrospective exhibition. On display are paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints, many of which have rarely, if ever, been exhibited.
Beginning with works produced while studying at Edinburgh College of Art in the early 1960’s and ending with his most recent landscape paintings, the show plots key periods within Bellany’s life: a deeply religious upbringing, his rebellious beginnings and important artistic influences, his unwavering belief that art should show the realities of life, his use of symbols, as well as the reflection in his art of his own personal tragedies and triumphs. During a period in Europe and America when expressive realism has not always been fashionable, Bellany has been one of the key standard bearers for this vital strand of modern art.
This is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of John Bellany’s work since the National Galleries organised the retrospective in 1986.