Stanley Spencer (British artist)
Stanley Spencer is one of the most original of modern British artists. He was a painter of imaginative and religious subjects, landscapes and occasional portraits. "Swan Upping" is one of Spencer's best known pictures. This painting has an air of hightened reality; the light reflected from the water suggests moonlight, yet events take place in the foreground in daylight. There is anxiety in the immobilized swans and the face of the woman on the bridge, a mood enhanced by the serrated edges of the clouds and the flame-like branches of the tree on the right. An ordinary scene made to appeal extraordinary. Spencer's works are well represented in the Tate Gallery collection and the exhibition reveals the full range of his output, from early drawings done while still a student to his late self-portrait, painted a few months before his death in 1959.