Dublin’s Hugh Lane Gallery is currently hosting a fascinating exhibition of the art treasures of those turbulent years from which the Irish Free State emerged, writes Paddy Ryan.
Philosopher John Ruskin claimed that “Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts: the book of their deeds; the book of their words; and the book of their art.”
While the first two manuscripts on the foundation of the Irish Free State have been well aired during this decade of commemoration, the art of that period has got less attention. However, Dublin’s Hugh Lane Gallery is currently hosting a fascinating exhibition of the art treasures of those turbulent years from which the Irish Free State emerged.
Aptly titled ‘Painting the Free State’, its eclectic mix of artists includes Sir John Lavery, Séan Keating, Paul Henry, Lily Williams, May Guinness and Jack B. Yeats.
Belfast-born, Lavery and his American wife, Hazel, were centre stage during this most eventful period in Irish history. It is no surprise, therefore, that Lavery is represented by at least two paintings in this exhibition.
His depiction of the corpse of Michael Collins, lying in state at Saint Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin, is truly memorable. Despite the deathly pallor of Collins’s face, the artist cleverly manages to convey his youth. His body is draped in the tricolour on which a crucifix rests.
Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own