The Easel

The Passion of Stanley Spencer

British art between the wars is sometimes thought parochial. Not so Stanley Spencer. Borrowing from Botticelli and Giotto, his art expressed a deep religious vision. Human relationships offered a form of resurrection. He admired industrial workers, seeing “spirituality in [their] ritualistic routines”. At the same time his candid nudes seem modern, opening a door for Lucian Freud. Ample justification for sustained popularity.