The best way to view a work of art is, beyond doubt, to go and see it in person. A reproduction will never do it justice, especially in small format. Most libraries dotted around the country will have an art section with maybe a bookcase of art related books. If you would like to augment your gallery visits, of which Ireland has many world class, the Dublin City Council, Central Library in the Illac centre on Henry Street has an wonderful selection of large format art books. This is a section separate from the usual art bookshelf. It is located by the business centre. There are 2 alcoves full of large books on all of your favourite artists. Worth spending a coffee break browsing through.
Leonardo Da Vinci published by Taschen is a personal favourite.
I went to visit the National Gallery twice last week. I was lucky enough to have a ticket for the closing week of the wonderful Vermeer exhibition. The second visit was to see an exhibition showing in the Print Gallery*.
I am currently attending Block-T workshops under artist Nicolas Robinson and visited “Life Death and War” by Käthe Kollwitz on his recommendation.
Käthe Kollwitz was an important German artists born in 1867. This exhibition consists of 38 of her prints and drawings. I was particularly drawn to her portraiture draughtmanship. As well as portraits we see her dramatic, theatrical, graphic style prints.
The work is quite dark in subject matter. It may be best to attend in your best form. After she married in 1891, Käthe moved to a poor district in North Berlin. Her work shows empathy towards the working classes and the horrors of death and loss due to war.
Her own son Peter was killed in the opening weeks of World War I. Her series of monochrome woodcut prints convey her trauma from this event aswel as the universal suffering caused by war. Again, this is not a light subject but the work is stunning.
The artist tackles some difficult themes, starving children, a mothers loss of a child to war, helpless peasants using farm tools as weapons in Bauernkreig. Suffering is highlighted and the horrors of war and bereavement are the focal point.
The exhibition runs until the 10th of December and admission is free.
*The print Gallery is located where here the Margaret Clarke exhibition was shown. At the exit point of Vermeer, there is a children’s drawing area and a stair case. The Print gallery, for those unfamiliar, is directly up those stairs.