Friday, August 07, 2009

Craigie Aitchison

Craigie Aitchison b.1926
Crucifixion 1984-86
Oil on canvas. 2209mm x 1879mm
Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham

Craigie Aitchison b.1926
Crucifixion 9 1987
Oil on canvas
support: 2147 x 1830 mm frame: 2382 x 2063 x 81 mm
Tate Britain, London

Craigie Aitchison b.1926
Lily Still-Life 1974
Oil on canvas 76.20 x 63.50 cm
The National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

Aitchison has been painting the subject of the Crucifixion all his professional life. His first one man show in 1958 contained a small painting of the crucified Christ attended by two angels

The Crucifixes are partly inspired by altarpieces in Italian churches

While still an art student in London, Aitchison produced a copy of a painting by Georges Rouault of the subject that was to become such a frequent motif in his own work: the crucifixion. 'There was a terrible teacher there and--this provoked me--when he saw my Rouault copy he said, "Oh, that is far too serious a subject for you to tackle". He said, “I remember the exact words. Bloody hell! I went back to the lodgings and decided to do my own, as he'd been so damning.”

In Crucifixion 9, the setting is a hill called Goat Fell, on the Isle of Arran, a childhood holiday place. He said: “I loved being in Arran - it was the happiest time of my childhood and I still have an affinity with the island”.

In “Lily Still=Life”, the lily takes on a religious significance, due to the presence of the small Crucifixion in the background

His depictions of the Crucifixion, apparently simplistic, have a timeless and poetic quality.

He lives in Kennington, South London