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Acting legend Cairney has many crosses to bear

AS a Scots acting legend he has starred in Jason And The Argonauts, played the Leonardo ­DiCaprio character in the original Titanic movie and is known for his career performing Robert Burns.

RENAISSANCE MAN: John Cairney's collection of paintings will be on display at St Patrick's Church in Anderston for six weeks.
RENAISSANCE MAN: John Cairney's collection of paintings will be on display at St Patrick's Church in Anderston for six weeks.

Now, at the age of 84, John Cairney has underlined his credentials as the Caledonian Renaissance Man with an exhibition of religious art works which place Jesus in contemporary Glasgow.

Mr Cairney, who describes himself as a writer, actor, painter and raconteur, has produced a series of paintings entitled A Glasgow Calvary based on the 14 Stations of the Cross, which depict the last hours of Christ, from being condemned to death to being laid out in his tomb.

But in a twist on their traditional depiction, Mr Cairney has located each representation at Glasgow's historic crosses, intersections of prominent roads.

In the first, Jesus is seen being condemned to death at Glasgow Cross, a major junction in the historic city centre, where a monument to St John Ogilvie, who was martyred there in 1615,still stands and where witches, thieves and murderers were summarily dealt with and hanged. Other locations for Mr Cairney's take on the Stations, sees Jesus depicted in Shawlands, Govan, Bridgeton, Partick, Charing Cross and the remaining intersections still standing.

They will go on display for the next six weeks at St Patrick's RC Church in Anderston, near Glasgow city centre, as part of the annual Lentfest, which celebrates religious arts and culture in the weeks approaching Easter.

Mr Cairney said: "I suppose the thought behind the painting was 'what if Our Lord dropped to earth today and would any of us take any notice of him'.

"I'd been working on the 14 for the past year but also breaking with tradition I've done 15, the last of which entitled He Is Risen I've just completed and is still wet.

"Coincidentally, there's 15 historic Glasgow crosses still standing. I've depicted the cross and dropped Jesus into them. You couldn't call them a reflection of something real but I wanted to put Christ in a modern setting."

Mr Cairney starred alongside Kenneth More in 1958's A Night To Remember, where he played Irish immigrant Patrick Murphy, a part similar to the character Jack played by Leonardo DiCaprio in James Cameron's 1997 version of the Titanic story.

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