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"Angels of the Apocalypse" by Stanley Spencer (1891-1959, England)

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Artwork Stanley Spencer , Artwork Stanley Spencer
'Angels of the Apocalypse' by Stanley Spencer (1891-1959, England)
Artwork Stanley Spencer , Artwork Stanley Spencer

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Sir Stanley Spencer (30 June 1891 – 14 December 1959) was an English painter. Much of his work depicts Biblical scenes, from miracles to Crucifixion, happening not in the Holy Land but in the small Thames-side village where he was born and spent most of his life. He referred to Cookham as "a village in Heaven." Fellow-villagers frequently stand in for their Gospel counterparts, lending Christian teachings an eerie immediacy.

Spencer was born and spent much of his life in Cookham in Berkshire. His father, William Spencer, was a music teacher. His younger brother, Gilbert Spencer (1892–1979), was a painter of landscapes.

From 1908 to 1912, Spencer studied at the Slade School of Art at University College, London under Henry Tonks and others. His contemporaries at the Slade included Dora Carrington, Mark Gertler, Paul Nash, Edward Wadsworth, Isaac Rosenberg and David Bomberg. So profound was his attachment to the village of his birth that most days he would take the train back home in time for tea. It even became his nickname: his fellow student C.R.W. Nevinson dubbed him Cookham, a name which Spencer himself took to using for a time.

After a long period of agonising whether or not to join up, in 1915 Spencer volunteered to serve with the Royal Army Medical Corps and worked as an orderly at the Beaufort War Hospital (which later became Glenside). In 1916, the 24-year-old Spencer volunteered for service with the RAMC in Macedonia, and served with the 68th Field Ambulance unit. He subsequently volunteered to be transferred to the Berkshire Regiment. His survival of the devastation and torment that killed so many of his fellows indelibly marked Spencer's attitude to life and death. Such preoccupations come through time and again in his religious works.

Towards the end of the war he was commissioned by the War Artists Advisory Committee to paint what became Travoys Arriving with Wounded at a Dressing Station at Smol, Macedonia, September 1916 (now in the Imperial War Museum). It was visibly the consequence of Spencer's experience in the medical corps. A further major commission was to paint murals for the Sandham Memorial Chapel in Burghclere dedicated to the war dead. The altarpiece depicts the Resurrection of the Soldiers.

In 1939, he went on a painting holiday at the suggestion of one of his friends, William Rothenstein, to Leonard Stanley in Gloucestershire. This holiday extended to two years; Stanley stayed at the White Hart Inn and created many of his important works in his room above the bar which he used as a studio, including 'Us in Gloucestershire' and 'The Wool Shop'.

Spencer's work as a war artist in the Second World War included his epic depiction of shipbuilding workers and their families at Port Glasgow on the Clyde. When the war ended he again took up, as did certain other British neo-romantic artists of the time, his visionary preoccupations — in Spencer's case with a sometimes apocalyptic tinge.

In 1925, Spencer married Hilda Carline, then a student at the Slade and sister of the artist Richard Carline. A daughter, Shirin, was born in November of that year and a second daughter, Unity, in 1930. Spencer met the artist Patricia Preece in 1929 in Cookham. He became infatuated with her. Carline divorced Spencer in 1937. A week later he married Preece, who persuaded him to sign over his house to her; she, however, was a lesbian. She continued to live with her partner, Dorothy Hepworth, and though she frequently posed nude for her husband, she refused to consummate the marriage. When Spencer’s bizarre relationship with Preece finally fell apart (though she would never grant a divorce), he would visit Hilda, an arrangement that continued throughout the latter's subsequent mental breakdown. Hilda died from cancer in November 1950. The painful intricacies of this three-way relationship became the subject in 1996 of a play by the feminist playwright Pam Gems. Titled Stanley, it starred Anthony Sher, at the National Theatre and, later, on Broadway. Nominated for a Tony Award, it won the Olivier Best New Play award for 1997.

Spencer has been the subject of several biographies. The diminutive survivor of turmoil domestic and military is depicted in his later years as a "small man with twinkling eyes and shaggy grey hair, often wearing his pyjamas under his suit if it was cold." He became a "familiar sight, wandering the lanes of Cookham pushing the old pram in which he carried his canvas and easel." The pram, black and battered, has somehow survived, to become the most curious exhibit in the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham, which is dedicated to its owner's life and works.

When a member of a British Council delegation to China not long before his death, Spencer is said to have introduced himself to Premier Zhou Enlai with the words, "Hello, I'm Stanley from Cookham."

Spencer was knighted in 1959. He died of cancer at nearby Cliveden later that year.

Spencer has been described as an early modernist painter. His works often express his fervent if unconventional Christian faith. This is especially evident in the scenes that he envisioned and depicted in Cookham. Very evident in these too is the compassion that he felt for his fellow residents. His quirky romantic and sexual obsessions were also expressed within this home environment, but it is a mistake to regard him merely as some sort of quaint village innocent, inextricably tied to small-town England. His works originally provoked great shock and controversy. Nowadays, they still seem stylistic and experimental, whilst the nudes that arose through the futile relationship with Patricia Preece, such as the Leg of mutton nude, foreshadow some of the much later works of Lucian Freud, who expressed admiration for Spencer.

Spencer's early work is regarded as a synthesis of French Post-Impressionism, exemplified for instance by Paul Gauguin, plus early Italian painting typified by Giotto. This was a conscious choice, and Spencer was a key member of a group who called themselves the "Neo-Primitives." Allied with him were David Bomberg, William Roberts and other young contemporaries at the Slade.

His most ambitious work was the consequence of his Great War experiences: a cycle of 19 wall paintings for the Sandham Memorial Chapel (see above), which took five years to complete. During the Second World War, he was recruited by the War Artists' Advisory Committee to help in the war effort by recording activities that were taking place on the home front. Spencer chose to paint Clyde shipbuilders at work; when the war ended, he was in the process of planning a three-tier frieze 70 feet long representing their work.

Today, works such as The Resurrection, Cookham (1923–27), clearly set in the village and with actual residents taking part, rarely come up for auction, but when they do, they sell for immense sums. However, during Spencer's lifetime, it was his landscapes that were in demand. His dealer would press him to produce more, but Spencer expressed impatience, and professed that they were a chore. Nevertheless these landscapes of Cookham and its environs are still favored by many of the public.

Spencer made only three lithographs, all under the guidance of Henry Trivick. In November 2006, the Imperial War Museum asked Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to lead a campaign to fund restoration of Spencer's paintings of Port Glasgow's shipyards in wartime and certain other works. Ferguson, whose father, brother and an uncle were working in the yards while the artist was there, took up the challenge.

Spencer's house near Cookham Rise Primary school is still in private occupation. The village's Methodist Chapel where the artist worshipped is today the Stanley Spencer Gallery. It mounts two exhibitions a year and holds over 100 items of his work.
[Biography - Stanley Spencer - 9Ko]
Sir Stanley Spencer (30 Juin 1891 à 1814 Décembre 1959) était un peintre anglais. Une grande partie de son travail représente des scènes bibliques, des miracles à la crucifixion, passe pas dans la Terre Sainte, mais dans le petit Thames-side village où il est né et a passé la majeure partie de sa vie. Il s'est référé à Cookham comme «un village dan...
[Biography - Stanley Spencer - 12Ko]
Sir Stanley Spencer (30. Juni 1891 - 14. Dezember 1959) war ein englischer Maler. Viele seiner Arbeiten zeigt Szenen aus der Bibel, von Wundern zu Kreuzigung, geschieht nicht im Heiligen Land, sondern in der kleinen Themse-Side-Dorf, in dem er geboren wurde und verbrachte den größten Teil seines Lebens. Er bezog sich auf Cookham als "ein Dorf im Hi...
[Biography - Stanley Spencer - 10Ko]
Sir Stanley Spencer (30 giugno 1891-14 dicembre 1959) è stato un pittore inglese. Gran parte della sua opera raffigura scene bibliche, dai miracoli alla crocifissione, non accade in Terra Santa, ma nel piccolo Tamigi-side villaggio dove è nato e ha trascorso parte della sua vita. Ha fatto riferimento a Cookham come "un villaggio in Paradiso." Compa...
[Biography - Stanley Spencer - 10Ko]
Sir Stanley Spencer (30 junio 1891 hasta 14 diciembre 1959) fue un pintor Inglés. Gran parte de su obra representa escenas bíblicas, de los milagros a la crucifixión, pasando no en la Tierra Santa, pero en el pequeño pueblo a orillas del Támesis, donde nació y pasó la mayor parte de su vida. Se refirió a Cookham como "un pueblo en el Cielo." Compañ...
[Biography - Stanley Spencer - 11Ko]
Сэр Стенли Спенсер (30 июня 1891 - 14 декабря 1959), английский живописец. Большая часть его работ изображены библейские сцены, из чудес Распятие, происходит не в Святой Земле, но и в небольших Темзе со стороны деревни, где он родился и провел большую часть своей жизни. Он сослался на Cookham как "деревня на небесах". Односельчане часто стоят на св...
[Biography - Stanley Spencer - 9Ko]
斯坦利斯潘塞爵士(1891年6月30日 - 1959年12月14日)是英国画家。他的作品多描绘圣经场景,从奇迹到十字架上,在圣地,但在泰晤士河边的小村庄,他在那里出生并度过他一生中最不发生。他被称为到Cookham“在天堂的一个村庄。”老乡见老乡,村民经常站在他们的福音同行,令人毛骨悚然的直接贷款基督教教义。 斯宾塞出生和他的生活在Cookham度过在伯克希尔。他的父亲威廉· 斯宾塞,是一名音乐老师。他的弟弟,吉尔伯特· 斯宾塞(1892年至1979年),是一个风景画家。 从1908年到1912年,斯宾塞根据亨利· 唐克斯和他人在伦敦大学斯莱德艺术学院学习。他的同时代人在斯莱德包括:多拉卡林顿,马克· 格特勒,保罗· 纳什,爱德华&...
[Biography - Stanley Spencer - 4Ko]
Sir Stanley Spencer (30 de junho, 1891 - 14 de Dezembro de 1959) foi um pintor Inglês. Muito de seu trabalho retrata cenas bíblicas, dos milagres de crucificação, não acontecendo na Terra Santa, mas na aldeia Thames lado pequeno, onde ele nasceu e passou parte de sua vida. Ele se referiu a Cookham como "uma aldeia no céu." Companheiros de aldeões f...
[Biography - Stanley Spencer - 10Ko]
サー· スタンリー· スペンサー(1891年6月30日 - 1959年12月14日)は、英国人画家であった。ずっと彼の仕事のない聖地ではなく、彼が生まれ、彼の人生のほとんどを過ごした小さなテムズ川側の村で起こって、奇跡からはりつけに、聖書の場面を表しています。彼は、ぜひご覧ください。と呼ばれる "天国の村。"仲間の村人たちは頻繁にキリスト教の教えに不気味な即時性を貸し、彼らの福音書の対応のために立つ。 スペンサーは、バークシャーで生まれ、ぜひご覧ください。に多くの彼の人生を過ごしました。彼の父、ウィリアム· スペンサーは、音楽の先生だった。彼の弟、スペンサー· ギルバート(1892-1979)は、風景画家であった。 1908年から1912年に、...
[Biography - Stanley Spencer - 5Ko]


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"Angels of the Apocalypse" by Stanley Spencer (1891-1959, England)
Stanley Spencer