Pupils at a Craigavon school spent one day as curators of a world famous masterpiece of art as part of a BBC organised project.
Your Paintings: Masterpieces in Schools is a new venture to inspire young people and encourage them to explore the nation’s rich and varied painting collection.
St Anthony’s Primary school received the John Luke painting Connswater Bridge, which was painted in 1934 and loaned by Queen’s University, Belfast.
The school used their work of art to provide inspiration right across the school day and curriculum. Pupils and teachers used the art as the creative spark in lessons including Art, Literacy, Maths, ICT and Music. Throughout the day pupils compared the painting to their own surroundings. They wrote letters to the famous artist about their thoughts and opinions of the painting and composed and studied songs and rhymes from the artwork’s era.
Luke (1906–1975) worked for a time at York Road Mill and later in the Belfast shipyards, studying art at evening classes at Belfast School of Art. In 1927 he was awarded a scholarship which allowed him to attend the Slade School in London where he studied painting and sculpture. He then went on to Westminster School of Art where he studied wood engraving. Luke began to exhibit his work in London but in 1931 the economic recession forced him to return to Belfast, and he spent the rest of his life in Northern Ireland.
Connswater Bridge is one of the first paintings in which Luke’s preoccupation with formal structures became evident. The precise draughtsmanship seen in the painting is typical of his oeuvre. Connswater Bridge, in east Belfast, carried the trains of the Belfast & County Down Railway until 1951. The bridge was demolished.