Sir Stanley Spencer
Drawing for the Left Panel of ‘Resurrection: Rejoicing’ date not known

Artwork details

Sir Stanley Spencer 1891–1959
Drawing for the Left Panel of ‘Resurrection: Rejoicing’
Date Date not known
Medium Graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 403 x 267 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1980
Not on display

Display caption

These drawings are studies for a series of paintings of The Resurrection. Spencer had originally planned one huge canvas, but in the end, settled for a number of smaller, interrelated paintings. The Resurrection: Port Glasgow, the painting shown here, was to be the centrepiece of the group.

Rather than using models, Spencer worked from his imagination, often making his first sketches on strips of toilet paper, which he found useful for its length and low cost. He then copied the sketches he liked onto large sheets in a sketchbook, some of which are displayed here. He next squared up the drawings and transferred them on to canvas to be painted.

In Spencer''s homely vision of this Christian day of reckoning, rising from the grave seems to be rather like waking up in bed. He presents an idealised version of family life in which the whole community relaxes together, yawning, stretching, brushing their hair, embracing. Most of the figures wear loose pyjama-like clothing, some dance, some garden. It is a solid, earthly heaven, in which memories of childhood comfort and domesticity are mingled with adult dreams of erotic love.

August 2004

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