Old Church and Steps

Artist: Laurence Stephen Lowry

Born on the 1st November 1887 in England, Stretford, Lancashire. Famous for painting scenes of life in the industrial districs of North West England, his distinctive style of painting is best known for urban landscapes populated with human figures often referred to as “matchstick men

old-church-and-steps-image
This artwork is a reproduction.

One element throughout this artist’s works is the constant lack of shadows. The reason for this, perhaps disappointingly, is simply because he “can’t paint shadows.” (source)

When he first painted these steps, around Boarshaw Road and Morton Street, he was unsatisfied with one of the steps and returned and made another titled: Old Church and Steps. He only noticed that one of the dogs at the front had five legs when a friend pointed it out – though he was adamant the unusual number of legs, because “he only painted what he saw”. (source)

In 1905, he went to evening classes in antique and freehand drawing and was to study both in the Manchester Academy of Fine Art and at Salford Royal Technical College in Peel Park. Though in his early years he lived in a Manchester suburb of Victoria Park, the lack of money forced his family to move to Station Road, Pendlebury, where he saw factory chimneys dominate the landscape.

He died aged 88, months before a retrospective exhibition opened at the Royal Academy, which broke all attendance records for a twentieth century artist.

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