John Bellany, who has died at the age of 71, lived a turbulent, fiercely creative life.
His journey through life was testing and rich in both acclaim and trial. His artistic vision not only made him one of Scotland's greatest post-war painters, but, at his artistic height, one of the greatest of the modern era.
From his deeply-felt and heroic depictions of the fishermen and women of Port Seton, his continually influential birthplace, to his wildly expressionistic later work, through many disturbing ruminations on mortality and Calvinist faith, his work continually both challenged and appealed. For many years poor health had led to much suffering but also, perhaps, to some of his greatest art, his hospital-bed drawings from Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, where a liver transplant gave him an extra quarter century of urgent, well-lived life and work.
Bellany's art was strongly rooted in Scotland, and more particularly the ports of East Lothian, but it had the breadth and depth to appeal to art lovers across the world. We mourn his passing, and acknowledge this boat-builder's son's extraordinary talent and life-long dedication to his craft.
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