Posts Tagged ‘National Gallery of Ireland’

Top five: Things to do in Dublin this Summer

16 July 2010

By Lisa Marie Griffith

So like many others, I am confined to Dublin for the summers and I will not be embarking on a summer vacation abroad, although I will get to Cork for the July bank holiday weekend. I have been compiling a list of things to do in the capital for my summer (things to drag my poor boyfriend to really) and thought I would share my top 5 with you.

1. Slattery’s Sago Saga: I am a huge Flann O’Brien fan so I am really looking forward to the performance of Slattery’s Saga Saga. Described as ‘One part carnival, one part surreal satire’ this play is being performed at Rathfarnham Castle. Adapted by Arthur Riordan for the stage, it is based on Flann O’Brien’s final and unfinished novel.

2. Death of a Salesman at Gate. I saw Arthur Miller’s All My Sons at the Gate last year and it was very enjoyable so I am looking forward to this.

3. Irish High Cross exhibition at the National Museums of Ireland, Collins Barracks. This exhibition opened 1st of July and explores the tradition, significance and art work of the Irish high cross and explains the importance of these crosses to early christian communities.

4. Films on the Square. I am a big film fan and try to make it along to at least one film in Meeting House Square every summer.

5. Revisit the Caravaggio at the National Gallery. On loan to the National Gallery from the Jesuit Community of Dublin, ‘The Taking of Christ’ was part of an exhibition in Rome this year and has just been returned to the NGI.

Tell us about your summer! Pue’s Occurrences would like you to submit reviews of plays, productions, exhibitions, museums, events and cultural activities you have encountered in Ireland or even internationally over the summer. You can email us at

Pue’s Recommendations for April

5 April 2010

Juliana Adelman I first encountered Hitchcock when I started babysitting: I watched Dial M for Murder in terror on the couch after the children went to sleep.  During April, the IFI are showing a selection of Hitchcock’s best including Psycho, North by Northwest and Notorious.  RTE recently aired the first of a new series of documentaries called Arts Lives.  Their first subject was the crime writer, John Connolly.  If this is anything to go by, the series will be better than any similar style programme I have ever seen on RTE.  You can still watch the first episode on the RTE Player until April 13th.

Lisa-Marie Griffith The most important event for the history community, and one which will determine research for future generations of historians, takes places this month and requires the attendance of as many people as possible. The Archives in Crisis: a symposium to Debate the Future of Archives in Irish Society will take place Saturday 10 April in Trinity College Dublin’s Robert Emmett Theatre between 3 and 5. In an effort to draw attention to the plans to merge the National Archives of Ireland and the National Library of Ireland, this is the community’s attempt to debate the effect this will have on history writing and humanities in Ireland. Speakers include Fintan O’Toole, Catriona Crowe and Eunan O’Halpin and will be followed by an open forum moderated by Professor Diarmaid Ferriter. Those who can’t attend the event or who would like to show their support for the symposium can join the Facebook group ‘Action on archives’. On a totally different note, I have been reading a little about world mythology so I really enjoyed visiting ‘Telling Images of China, Narrative and Figure Paintings, 15th-20th Century, from the Shanghai Museum’ the exhibition currently running at the Chester Beatty Library and which features images from Chinese folklore, religion, history and culture. This exhibition runs until 2 May 2010.

Christina Morin Easter is upon us, and with it, some much needed time off, which, for me, often means reading some of the many books on my ever-growing list of must-reads. Quite a few of these are actually relevant to my research but manage to get shelved for months, even years, at a time, while I concentrate on other things. This constant deferral of reading is a frustrating experience, especially when it involves novels I know I’m going to love but which I just don’t have time to read. That’s why I’m so excited about reading two new editions of all too frequently overlooked Irish fiction: Vertue Rewarded ; or, the Irish Princess (anon.; 1693) and Sarah Butler’s, Irish Tales (1716). Not only have they just been published (Four Courts Press), but the attractive new volumes offer a perfect excuse to drop everything and read fiction that I’ve been meaning to read or re-read for ages right away! They’re part of the Early Irish Fiction project directed by Ian Campbell Ross, Aileen Douglas, and Moyra Haslett, and should be one of the more erudite endeavours of my Easter week (the other main one being to eat my body weight in Mini Eggs). As soon as I’ve read the editions, I’ll be sure to review them here at Pue’s! To recover from my chocolate overload, I might hop on my bike for a cycle along the Lagan Towpath and on down to Belfast’s Titanic Quarter to take in the Titanic: Made in Belfast Festival running from April 3rd to 11th. And then, perhaps, I’ll head over to the Queen’s Film Theatre for one of the films in the 10th Annual Belfast Film Festival, which runs from 15th-30th April and has a great programme of films, workshops, and events planned. Roll on, Easter!

Kevin O’Sullivan At a party in a friend’s house a few years ago, I overheard a group of three well-travelled twenty-something Dubliners in conversation about Paris’s Musée d’Orsay and its collection of the great impressionist works. (I know – what a party). ‘They’re like art’s greatest hits’, said one. ‘Even if people know nothing about painting, they all come out to see.’ The words returned to me while browsing the National Gallery’s new exhibition in Dublin a few weeks ago. If Monet, Manet, Degas et al are Abba, do we have a U2, a Thin Lizzy or even a Joe Dolan? The best of the gallery’s acquisitions of the last ten years, there’s some great art and great history here – see, from just one era, O’Kelly’s Dublin, Osborne’s Brittany, Lavery’s wherever, and Orpen’s portrait of McCormack. Free and well worth a look if you’re at a loose end in the big smoke before 25 July. Oh, and in case anyone’s wondering, I am still listening to San Patricio, the new Ry Cooder record with the Chieftains and it’s still as interesting as it was when I gushed about it here a few weeks ago; Irish history by mariachi, with added uileann pipes.

Catch it before the end of the month… Light in Darkness exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland

15 January 2010

By Lisa Marie Griffith

One of my recommendations for January was to go and see the Tuner exhibition at the National Gallery ‘A light in the Darkness Turner’s watercolours & silhouettes and miniatures The Mary A. McNeill bequest’. For those of you not familiar with the exhibit, and I have to admit that I was not until recently, the collection is unique because when the bequest was made to the gallery strict terms stipulated that the paintings be exhibited in January only. The dark winter month, it was hoped, would mean that the paintings would not have to suffer the light and be saved from fading. Each January the gallery exhibits the collection and to update it and keep regulars interested they add to the exhibit in some way; this year the exhibition was accompanied by a bequest from Mary A. McNeill of eighteenth and nineteenth century silhouettes and miniatures.

I will have to admit that I had not seen the exhibit when I recommended it at the beginning of the month but I waded through the snow last Saturday (for fear the following week would be worse as predicted) to see the exhibit and follow through on my own January ‘to do list’. I have no grounding in history of art so bear in mind this review is not written by a connoisseur. Indeed, wallowing in my ignorance I prefer to go to galleries and point at what I like and what I do not like. It may be my lack of training but I was disapopinted and found Turner’s watercolours very dull. A couple of watercolours of stormy seas certainly stood out but on the whole it would have been a forgetful event without the addition of the wonderful McNeill bequests. Read More

Pue’s Recommendations for January

4 January 2010

Juliana Adelman I don’t imagine there is any Irish historian unfamiliar with the Hayes catalogues.  No matter what library you access them in, they are invariably ragged and slightly pungent from many years of fingers.  Their content is now searchable through the National Library of Ireland’s new database, Sources.  I’ve gotten tired of looking for book snakes in the library only to be given something 3 inches long that wouldn’t hold a feather in place nevermind a binding.  So I made my own.  You can too, see these instructions.  Finally, I’ve ventured into the world of ebooks without a Kindle or an iPhone.  If you download the free Stanza application, it makes reading Project Gutenberg books a bit easier.  There will be some formatting errors, but perfectly serviceable.

Lisa Marie Griffith Someone sent me a Terry Pratchett interview about his latest book Unseen Academicals over christmas that led me to the Guardian Book Club. Very enjoyable but I fear it will lead to an increase in the pile of books on my floor already threatening to cause a landslide from Christmas gift additions!  The National Gallery’s next exhibit runs throughout January and is entitled ‘A light in the darkness- Turner’s watercolours, silhouettes and miniatures’. It also includes watercolours silhouettes and miniatures from the Mary A. McNeill Bequest and include works from the Irish artist John Comerford (who painted prominent eighteenth and nineteenth century Irish politicians) as well as Richard Crosse and William Grimaldi. This looks like a fascinating exhibition for anyone with an interest in people!

Kevin O’Sullivan Every January I convince myself that this is the year to go and do one of the art history courses in the Hugh Lane or the National Gallery, but never get around to it. Until then I’m making do with the brilliant Smarthistory, a multimedia take on the history of art from the Aurignacians to Roy Lichtenstein. I’m also intrigued by Blackwell’s History Compass, to see if it can do something similar for our subject, though I’m not convinced that keeping its ‘peer-reviewed survey articles from across the discipline’ as subscription-only is the best model. Finally, though first broadcast in 2004, RTÉ Radio 1’s More than Museums series is definitely worth a listen, not least for the diversity of its subjects – from the Natural History Museum to the Falls Road via Croke Park. (As an aside, surely RTÉ’s New Year’s resolution should be to make its RTE Player available for old radio shows and stop directing listeners to the dreaded RealPlayer?)

Art: The Greatest Hits

11 July 2009

By Kevin O’Sullivan

Stephen Forbes - HeadsThe story in today’s Irish Times that the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism has asked the authorities of the National GalleryIMMA, and the Crawford Gallery to step up their pursuit of commercial opportunities and partnerships to fund their activities, and to adopt ‘more populist’ exhibition policies raises an age old question: should we give the people what they want (or what they think they want) or should the role of our cultural institutions be to challenge and open the minds of the population to a new cultural experience?

We can, I think, largely discard the idea that commercial partnerships are detrimental to the arts, certainly not when they are viewed as Peter Murray, director of the Crawford, sees them: as an opportunity to open ‘innovative thinking in terms of commercial initiatives’. Commercial funding of the arts is nothing new and has helped to bring together some of the best exhibitions in the world in recent years. Case in point: the brilliant and massively successful ‘Picasso et les Maîtres’ I attended at the Grand Palais in Paris earlier this year, sponsored by Möet and Louis Vuitton among others. As long as commercial sponsorship is used to develop and open doors for those who work curating the galleries, I can’t see anything wrong with it in the slightest. Read More