Summer In The City: National Gallery Of Ireland

I know that we have been having a mini-heat wave lately, but as we can’t rely on it lasting the summer I have been looking at the NGI’s seasonal activities with interest. Here then, is a quick round-up of events to give you an idea of what’s on offer over the next few months.

After the closure of two temporary exhibitions, ‘The Sketchbooks of Jack B. Yeats’ and ‘Treasured Sheets’ the wraps are shortly to come off two more promising looking exhibitions. At the same time, the run of ‘Essential Ireland: A Mini Tour’ has been extended until 5 August so you still have chance to visit. This exhibition, curated to mark the year of The Gathering, is as you might imagine a tour around Ireland in paint and canvas. It includes scenes of popular destinations around the country painted by, amongst others, James Malton, Francis Place and John Lavery. The gallery ran a series of Tuesday lectures to tie in with the exhibition. I went along to one talk by art historian Mary Jane Boland that focussed on the views of Glendalough, which was fascinating and informative.

Irish landscapes also feature in one of the upcoming exhibitions, ‘From Galway to Leenane: Perceptions of Landscape’ (15 June-29 September) centred on forty-one watercolours by an English artist William Evans of Eton. It will be the first time since their acquisition by the gallery in 2008, for these paintings to be on display. The images, painted in 1835 and 1838 when Evans toured the country, recorded the landscape and people he saw. The curators have paired these nineteenth century impressions with work by contemporary Irish artist Wendy Judge. Her sculptural landscapes look at travel in our age, examining virtual travel and the authentic experience. The aim of these specially commissioned pieces is to show how ‘perceptions of landscape can be mediated through travel, literature and art’. This exhibition will be on show in the Print Room.

The second new exhibition is entitled ‘Shades of Grey: Painting without Colour’ (22 June-29 September) which examines work by painters who chose to limit their use of colour. This may have been for a variety of reasons such as the fashion of the time or as a technical interest. The paintings are drawn from the NGI’s own collection spanning the fifteenth to the twentieth century and include work by Berthe Morisot, Dod Proctor, Patrick Collins and Anne Yeats.

Alongside these exhibitions, the gallery is running a programme of lunchtime art talks entitled ‘Exploring a Picture’ during July and August. Until the end of June, you can catch the Tuesday morning/ Sunday afternoon series on ‘The Diversity of Irish Collections’.  I’ve been to two of these so far and they are well worth attending if you want to know more about Ireland’s varied collections. Sunday’s talk will be on the collection housed at the Highlanes Gallery in Drogheda. And if you want even more artistic inspiration the NGI have a series of art documentaries running on each Saturday until the end of the month.

That’s probably enough culture to be going on with, so if you want further information on exhibitions and events:   and on Twitter @NGIreland

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