Sir Thomas Monnington:
The Three Marys
Framed (ref: 6058)
Oil on canvas
34 13/16 x 46 7/8in. (88.5 x 119 cm)
Tags: Sir Thomas Monnington oil religion RELIGION
Exhibited: Royal Academy, 1952 (216)
According to John Monnington, the artist's son, this canvas, dating to the early 50's, was painted at Leyswoods (Groombridge) in Kent, in woods that were known as 'the sand pit', at the back of Monnington's studio . During WW2 the Canadian army used 'the sand pit' as a training area for medical front-line hospital staff and Monnington - on seeing tents erected there - had a sort of vision of what he believed was a place that could have had some similarity to early Christian sites in Palestine.
According to the artist's son it was painted en plein air and then finished in the studio. Monnington was very much influenced by Cezanne at this period. The semi-abstract pointillist technique provides a link with the Bristol Ceiling which as Monnington's first purely abstract work was embarked upon a year after The Three Marys was finished. John Monnington has a small painting done at the same place and time, though without the figures.
Stylistically it is fascinating to compare The Three Marys to Monnington's Annunciation which, exhibited at The Royal Academy some thirty years earlier, is of a similar size and subject, showing a grouping of women dispersed within a woodland setting