|Publications : Chapters
'‘Seeking the kingdom of heaven…’
Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) painter, writer, visionary’'
in Richard Heathcote and Anna Jug (eds.),
Stanley Spencer: A Twentieth-Century Master
(Wakefield Press, Adelaide, Australia, 2016).
Sir Stanley Spencer CBE is now regarded as one of the leading British
painters of the Twentieth century. His extraordinary output of portraits,
complex figure compositions and religious masterpieces stand comparison
with the European greats of his time. One of the chosen generation
that had graduated from the Slade School of Art in London, the boyish-looking
painter would soon become famous (and occasionally infamous) for
two outstanding qualities in his intense and at times complicated
life: the celebration and immortalisation of his home village of
Cookham, his ‘heaven on earth’ as he lovingly called
it, and the fusion in his paintings of the menial and the miraculous,
of sex and saints, of dirt and angels, the sacred and the profane,
invariably melded together by an extraordinary sense of pattern,
design and a singular personal vision that ingeniously unified the
disparate parts of a complicated personal narrative.
Grounded always in rigorous observation, Spencer’s narrative
paintings reveal a complex reading of the world, where everything
had a double meaning – the everyday jostling with the imaginary,
the ordinary alongside the extraordinary – which he attempted
to reconcile through his art….