John Luke RUA

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Artist Bio

John Luke was born in Belfast. He was predominantly a landscape and figure painter. Luke dedicated his time to craftsmanship and before winning a scholarship to the Belfast School of Art, he worked in the shipyard of Belfast and the York Street flax spinning mill. He later moved to London after winning the Dunville Scholarship which enabled him to attend the Slade School of Art, and whilst there he began to exhibit his work. During the Second World War, Luke took a break from painting and taught at the Belfast College of Art. During the 1940s, his work was barely known outside of Ulster, but when art critic, James White, saw his pieces, he said, ‘John Luke has achieved colour tones of purity, and textural values of a quality unequalled by any painter of the past three centuries whose work I know.’

Luke often embraced traditional artistic values, taking inspiration from early masters of the Italian Renaissance such as Botticelli. He prioritised draughtsmanship and technique to produce rhythmic compositions of acute detail and skill.

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