(born Aug. 24, 1903, London, Eng.—died Feb. 17, 1980, London) British painter. After studying art in London, he taught and practiced printmaking (1926–40) at the Chelsea School of Art. His early work was characterized by an exacting representationalism that evolved into Surrealism. He turned primarily to painting circa 1935 and served as official war artist 1940–45; his war paintings are an evocative record of desolation. His “thorn period” began with his Crucifixion (1946), considered to be one of the most important religious paintings of the 20th century. In such late works he incorporated anthropomorphic insect and plant forms, particularly thorns, which he transformed into powerful, frightening totemic images. Sutherland was known, too, for his expressionistic, penetrating portraits. He also designed the enormous tapestry (circa 1955–61) for the new Coventry Cathedral.
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