Aitchison, Craigie - CTBI blog
by The Centre for Theology and Public Issues Blog
Born and raised in Edinburgh, painter and screen-printer Craigie Aitchison (1927-2009) is well known for his simple, colorful portraits, still lifes, landscapes and, especially, crucifixions. The son of the great Scottish lawyer and Labour politician Lord Aitchison, Aitchison studied law at Edinburgh and Middle Temple before reversing course and enrolling at the Slade School of Fine Art. Although drawn again and again to the Scottish landscape, he split his time between London and Sienna.
Italy’s magnificent cathedrals and the bright colors of its Renaissance painting were an early and enduring influence on Aitchison’s approach. Yet even when treating religious themes there is a whimsy or joyous innocence conveyed through the simplicity of form, composition and color. By accounts of his friends and interviewers, Aitchison maintained his father’s commitments to justice and religious tolerance. He believed in God and valued the biblical texts, without being a regular churchgoer. At various points he attributed his interest in the crucifixion to an early viewing of a Dali crucifixion and to a reaction against an art teacher’s anti-religiousness. Regardless, he considered the Passion to be a paradigmatic story of injustice and felt it deserved continual revisitation.