Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, 1934 - 2016. Composer (1991)
About this artwork
The composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies has lived on a croft on the island of Hoy in Orkney since 1970. The island has been the inspiration for much of his work and he is also closely associated with the annual St Magnus Festival. The Gallery commissioned John Bellany to paint this portrait. When Bellany first met Maxwell Davies he was struck by his piercing black eyes ('like Picasso's') and powerful charisma. Bellany knew he could "do something extraordinary". During the sittings, artist and composer discussed the creative act and found much common ground: "The painting blossomed, a friendship was born and the whole experience was a joy".
- title: Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, 1934 - 2016. Composer
- accession number: PG 2888
- artist: John BellanyScottish (1942 - 2013)
- depicted: Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
- gallery: In Storage
- object type: Painting
- subject: Music
- materials: Oil on canvas
- date created: 1991
- measurements: 172.50 x 152.40 cm (framed: 190.00 x 170.00 x 7.00 cm)
- credit line: Commissioned 1991
- copyright: © The Estate of John Bellany. All Rights Reserved 2016/ Bridgeman Images
Bellany was born in the fishing village of Port Seton, near Edinburgh. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art and at the Royal College of Art, London. His work of the 1960s and 1970s dealt with original sin, guilt, sex and death. His characteristic paintings are large compositions featuring his own personal symbolism, often derived from the sea and from religion, two elements that dominated his childhood. The flawed nature of humanity was usually central to his paintings. Bellany became seriously ill in the 1980s and underwent a liver transplant operation in 1988, after which his work became more optimistic in mood.