As we enter Holy Week, we will be looking at some of Stanley Spencer’s paintings that were inspired by The Easter Story.
Stanley Spencer had an idiosyncratic but inclusive view of religion. He was brought up in a very religious family. Bible stories and their depiction by the Italian Primitives, especially Giotto’s frescos of the life of Christ were deeply inspirational to him when he first encountered them.
Influenced by Giotto’s setting of the bible stories in the contemporary Italian landscape, Stanley chose to set his versions in his beloved village of Cookham. However, Stanley’s sacred sense of place and his setting of great biblical moments in the homely, familar places he loved was seen by some as shocking and even sacrilegious.
Spencer believed that everything had two meanings, that which was up in heaven and down on earth. He saw his painting as a way of “saying ta to God”. Whilst he believed fervently in God, Heaven and Christ, he was interested in all religions.
“It is for me to go where the spirit moves me and not to attempt to ally it to some known and specified religion”.