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National Gallery of Ireland
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrLocated in the heart of Dublin, the National Gallery of Ireland is home to the national collection of European and Irish art. It is located on one side of Merrion Square, right next to Leinster House. The museum’s two entrances are found on Merrion Square and on Clare Street. Founded in 1854, the National Gallery opened to the public in 1855. Over the years it has acquired an extensive collection of paintings from all over Europe, including some real masterpieces. Its collection of Italian-Baroque and Dutch and Flemish painting is particularly great.
HistoryThe Great Industrial Exhibition took place on the lawns around Leinster House in 1853, an initiative of William Dargan who was also responsible for the development of the railroad network in Ireland. Mr. Dargan wanted to imitate the fabulous exhibition that had taken place in Crystal Palace in London the year before. The exhibition was made up of numerous brilliant pavilions – the architect of those received knighthood for it – and attracted huge enthusiastic crowds. It was clear that there was a need for an art institution, which was established in 1854. The public building opened to the public in 1864.
The National Gallery of Ireland wasn't founded around a collection that already existed. Instead, the entire collection was tactfully purchased. At the time of opening, the collection comprised only 112 paintings. An annual purchase grant of £ £1,000 ($1,520) allowed further expansion from 1866 onwards. By the end of the century, space had already become too small. Substantial gifts and donation continued to improve and expand the gallery’s collections; notable donors were the Countess of Milltown, Hugh Lane, George Bernard Shaw, Sir Alfred, and Lady Beit. Another respectable donor was Chester Beatty , the founder of the magnificent Chester Beatty Library.
In 1993 the National Gallery of Ireland became world-famous after Caravaggio’s ‘The Taking of the Christ’, a painting that had been considered lost, was found in a house in Dublin.
Collection and ExhibitionsThe National Gallery of Ireland now houses about 15,000 works of art, including around 2,500 paintings, several sculptures, numerous art objects and about 10,000 drawings and prints, dating from the 13th century until the mid-20th century. The collection holds a rather impressive number of masterpieces by renowned artists from all major European schools. It also features the largest collection of Irish art in the world.
The highlights of the collection can be divided into three categories. The Paintings and Sculpture highlights include works by Brueghel, Canova; Caravaggio, Gainsborough; Goya, Monet; Van Gogh, and Velazquez. It is fair to say that it is definitely worth visiting. The Prints and Drawings collection features artists such as Boucher, Guercino; Pelham, and Van Huysum. The National Portrait Collection is impressive as well and displays portraits of, for example, Bob Geldof, John O’Leary; Seamus Heaney, and Jonathan Swift.
There are ten different collections in the museum.
- The Spanish Collection (Ribera, Velazquez, Goya, Picasso,…)
- The French Collection (Poussin, Fragonard, Monet, Lemaire,…)
- The Italian Collection (Battista, Caravaggio, Guercino,…)
- The German Collection
- The Flemish Collection (Van Dyck, Rubens, Jordaens and Brueghel)
- The Dutch Collection (Vermeer, Hals, Rembrandt, Van Gogh,…)
- The British and American Collection (Gainsborough, Reynolds, Sargent,…)
- The Irish Collection (Hamilton, Osborne, Keating, Barry,…)
- The Yeats Collection
- The Drawings and Watercolors Collection
Exhibitions change regularly and are usually on display for only a few months up to a year. The main exhibition is the Masterpieces from the Collection, which is housed in the Beit Wing and features the greatest works in the National Gallery’s collection.
Visiting the National Gallery of IrelandThe National Gallery of Ireland is open 361 days of the year. Opening hours vary depending on the day. The museum is open from 9.30AM until 5.30PM on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday; and from 9.30AM until 8.30PM on Thursday. On Sunday you can visit between 11AM and 5.30PM. The museum is also open on public holidays, from 10AM until 5.30PM. Admission is free to everyone.
Besides great art exhibits, there are also free lectures you can attend, workshops to take and guided tours to join. Audio tours and drawing kits can be borrowed as well. If you want to improve you art skills, you can also sign up for a drawing course.
How to Get ThereThe gallery is easily reached on foot and by public transport. On foot it is located less than ten minutes from Grafton Street and St Stephen’s Green. The LUAS Green Line stops at St Stephen’s Green. Buses 4, 7 and 8 stop at Merrion Square, Bus 39A stops on Merrion Row, and Bus 46A stops on Dawson Street and Nassau Street. When traveling on the DART train, you can get off at Pearse Station, which is five minutes from the gallery.
Similar LandmarksOther renowned art galleries elsewhere in the world are the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Louvre, the Hermitage Museum and the Rubens House.
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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Jan 05, 2015