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Robin Philipson
Born Cumbria, 1916-1992

Crucifixion, 1966/80

Oil, tempera and gesso on canvas
Purchased 1980 with NFA grant
Museum number 14-1980

Philipson moved to Gretna in 1930 and attended Dumfries Academy. An early influence were the annual exhibitions of the Dumfries and Galloway Fine Art Society. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art, where he was later Head of Painting.

Philipson's sensuous handling of strong colour and love of paint places him amongst the most prominent and expressionist members of the so-called Edinburgh School.

Philipson originally made Crucifixion in 1966 and worked on it again in 1980. This painting comes from a series on the subject of Christ’s death made in the late 1960s. In this painting Philipson’s interest in the framework provided by a religious architectural context and the rich colour created by light shining through stained glass, is combined with an unflinching depiction of Christian agony, sacrifice and sorrow.

Philipson significantly changed the generally blue palette of the original in 1980, adding the yellow sections to either side of the rose window and darkening the ground behind Christ to shades of sombre greys and browns. Crucifixion is intended to be hung above normal eye level so that the viewer is forced to look up at the tortured figure of Christ. This positioning also emphasizes the suffering conveyed in His splayed fingers, stretched arms and tormented face, which is reduced to a gaping mouth and vicious crown of thorns.

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