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 Ken Hamilton  (1956 - )

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Lived/Active: Ireland      Known for: classical real still life and female portrait painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Ken Hamilton (b.1956)

The Irish classical*-style painter Ken Hamilton returned to Ireland from Nigeria at the age of eleven. He studied fine art painting and drawing at Art College in Belfast.

Eschewing the fashions and artistic conventions of contemporary art, Hamilton employs more classical painting or academic* art techniques concerning composition and subject matter. In so doing, he wishes to "restore some of the ancient values of painting now discarded by so many." A master of figure drawing, portrait art, and still life painting, he demonstrates superb treatment of light and shadow (chiaroscuro*).

Not unlike some of the Old Masters* from the High Renaissance period, Hamilton's paintings - many of which are pictures or portraits of the female form - do not attempt to bare the artist's own soul, but instead celebrate the visual pleasure of the human form.  Joy rather than despair is the underlying motif.

In 2006, at the 125th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Ulster Academy of Arts (RUA), Ken Hamilton won the Award for the "Most Popular Work" of the show (as voted for by visitors to the Exhibition) with his painting Leaving the Citadel in the Afternoon.

With so many contemporary artists turning away from the academic tradition of fine art in favour of ever more 'modern' types of self-expression, Ken Hamilton's exquisite paintings help to recapture the magic of the Renaissance*, and remind us of the graceful forms of Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo.

Online Encyclopedia of Irish and World Art

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

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