A Visit to the National Gallery of Ireland

Turner - Picture taken from NationalGallery.ie
There are a lot of things those of us who live in Dublin tend to forget about, including our art galleries. An chilled afternoon off meant I had a few hours to pass so I popped down to the National Gallery.

I remember seeing an exhibition of J.M.W Turner before including Snow Storm: Steamboat off a Harbour’s Mouth. Leaving Certificate Art (Irish A Levels) meant we knew a bit about Turner and his compatriot John Constable, so seeing that an exhibition called  ‘Colour and Light: caring for Turner’s watercolours’ was taking place was an instant attention grabber.

It was an interesting collection in the darkened Print Room. What I really enjoyed seeing was the cabinet Henry Vaughan had specially made to house the watercolours. There was also lots of information on why the watercolours needed to be in a darkened room.

Also at the back of the room were some fantastic little portraits in watercolours on ivory as well as mixed media. Really interesting.

Colour and Light: caring for Turner’s watercolours’ is open until January 31.

William Orpen - The Holy Well from NationalGallery.ieIn other parts of the gallery there are the world known pieces including Caravaggio‘s The Taking of Christ (although I knew this was here I still can’t believe this is in Dublin) and works by Van Gogh, Dutch Master Vermeer and Cubist Pablo Picasso.

There are some amazing pieces.

I really enjoyed the section of Irish artists of the twentieth century. The first painting that really grabbed me was The Holy Well by William Orphen. Myself and my companion noticed that the woman in the centre of the painting is a tad too muscular. We then undertook a debate on whether this figure was originally planned to be a male but on a canvas the of 234 cm tall, the naked figure’s manhood would have been the centre point of the painting, therefore we think the artist may have changed this figure to a female.

Have a look what do you think?

Sean Keating: The Key Men from NationalGallery.ie

Lastly, I couldn’t tell you about my visit without mentioning the joker in the pack. Sean Keating was commissioned by the ESB to document the Ardnacusha works in 1926. His painting ‘The Key Men’, was handed in completed in 1961. So that means it took 35 years to complete the painting. However, Mr Keating completely fabricated the whole thing. Instead of showing the men hard at work, he decided to include a digger, moving earth, in the piece. So what? These only came into use during World Ward 2. Haha! You learn something new every day!

A lovely afternoon, proving art is something to be enjoyed and Ssssh! Don’t tell anyone, you can even have a few laughs and giggles.

Check out the National Gallery website