Today I went to the National Gallery of Ireland. It is a small place, but precious; exquisite. Here are some notes:
Meeting on the Turret Stairs
This painting is only one display for three hours a week, but we timed the visit right. Gorgeous. I like that it is based on a work of text, but this scene is invented:
“The theme comes from a medieval Danish ballad which describes how Hellelil fell in love with Hildebrand, Prince of Engelland, one of her twelve personal guards. Her father orders his seven sons to kill him.”
Burton did not choose a violent episode and instead freely interpreted the story, placing their farewell on the turret stairs and leaving the reason for it to the imagination. His invention of the kiss on the woman’s outstretched arm and the lack of eye contact adds to the poignancy of the painting.
Grief, Yeats, 1951
Where are the people in the picture? Honestly can’t figure this out. Makes me feel like a cranky old man who dislikes art and new things.
Bachelor’s Walk, Yeats. This immediately reminds me of Paris Street; Rainy Day.
Scenes from the Life of St. Augustine. Amazing richness. Apparently this is just one panel of a larger work. The person who made it is simply called, “Master of Saint Augustine”. Sounds like a rapper.
Virgin and Child, Paulo Uccello. Made in 1435. Nice to see a non-Roman take on the topic.
The Taking of Christ, Carravaggio. This is what it means to be a photographer from the future.
Portrait of Charles Coote, First Earl of Bellomont, by Sir Joshua Reynolds. This dude was a serious character. An old coot, actually.
Julia Bonaparte, Queen of Spain, and her children, by François-Pascal-Simon Gérard. Exquisite. The way that people are positioned in family photos is always fraught with meaning, but maybe shouldn’t be.
Stella in Flowered Hat, Kees van Dongen, 1907. Now I know where pop art came from.