John Bellany pioneered a style of painting that melded Impressionism with the Naive. “What he was doing in the mid-1960s in many ways changed the course of Scottish painting,” Keith Hartley, the senior curator of the Scottish National Gallery, has said of Bellany’s importance. “It was like a manifesto: I don’t want to do paintings for Edinburgh drawing rooms, I want to do something which moves people, about ordinary people’s lives. It was very much a protest.”
Port scenes, Christianity, and female portraits drew inspiration from the work of Scottish primitive painters such as Alan Davie and Robin Philipson. Born in Port Seton, Scotland in 1942, Bellany is lauded as among the most important 20th-century painters to come out of the British Isles, and his work is included among major collections including The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate Britain in London. He died in 2013 in Saffron Walden, England at the age of 71 after a long illness.