The Arrest is a signed lithograph in colour by L.S Lowry, one of the most iconic British painters of the 20th century. In the print, Lowry depicts a street scene in Manchester in which a man is being arrested by two policemen. Various other people are captured walking along the street, going to work or watching the scene unfold. There is an element of voyeurism to this print as the viewer is watching the dramatic scene unfold, unbeknownst to the other figures that make up the composition.
The print is rendered in Lowry’s characteristic simple visual style. Lowry uses a restricted colour palette, privileging white, black, yellow, blue and red to present this industrial northern scene in a realistic way. Muted and understated colours are used frequently in Lowry’s paintings, along with his signature ‘matchstick men', human figures which lack detail and distinguishing features. Although Lowry has been criticised for the lack of individualism amongst these figures, they have become iconic elements of his artistic style.
The setting of The Arrest is inspired by Lowry’s experience living in Pendlebury near Manchester where he lived and worked for over 40 years. Lowry was fascinated by industrial landscapes and the people who inhabit and work in them. His art often depicts industrial scenes and cityscapes, with an emphasis on capturing urban life in the north west of England.