home / The Three Dancers (1945)

FINE ART : PAINTINGS

Title

The Three Dancers (1945)

Object Name

Painting

Maker

Luke, John 1906-1975 (Primary maker)
Luke, John 1906-1975 (artist)

Date Made

1945
1945

Description

The Three Dancers is a prime example of Luke’s highly stylised and precise technique. The flowing lines of the dancers’ arms, the bending boughs of the bush and the wavy undulations of the landscape, create the rhythm of the dance in a powerfully immediate way. The subtle finish and intense colour derives from the use of tempera, a medium Luke began experimenting with in 1933 and which fascinated him. By the 1940s, Luke had become virtually obsessed with the craftsmanship involved in creating works like The Three Dancers. Indeed, such was his preoccupation with the making of the picture that he produced lengthy notes on its technical construction. Luke spent almost his entire career living and working in Belfast with the exception of a period in County Armagh during the war years. This picture, painted whilst he was living there, is the first of a number of almost visionary compositions produced in the mid-1940s possibly inspired by the closing stages of the war.

Materials

oil & tempera on canvas on board

Catalogue Number

BELUM.U1919

Copyright

National Museums NI