Secret Hidden Gem At The National Gallery of Ireland

Last Summers Art Academy artists will know the story of the famous 19th Century french artist Rosa Bonheur. Women were not allowed to be artists . It was not illegal just not socially accepted. Rosa Bonheur did not let this stop her. She retired at the age of 38 having made millions from the sale of her wonderful realism paintings. She bought château outside of Paris and lived there with her girlfriend and many animals including horses, cattle and even her 3 pet lions.

When she was little her mother taught her the alphabet by allowing her to draw an animal for every letter of the alphabet on the walls of their home. She loved animals and this encouraged her when learning to read and write. Should you like to start drawing an animal for each letter of the alphabet, I have popped a few tutorial videos up on YouTube to get you started.

One of her master pieces, a giant oil painting on canvas The Horse Fair sold for the equivalent of 1.35 million euro in todays money. It is over 2 and a half metres wide.

Image Reference: (provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art).

The painting has a secret. Women were also not allowed to attend the horse fair and it was dangerous for them to do so. Rosa cut her hair up short and disguised herself by wear clothes that would be considered “mens clothing” at that time. This way she could get in to the horse fair and make sketches for her painting.

She even had to apply to the government for a pardon to wear trousers – after getting in trouble a few times – as it was illegal to wear trousers in France at that time if you were a women. Women were required by law to wear the floor length dress and corset you often see in period drama movies.

In a bold move Rosa even painted herself into her great Masterpiece, right in the centre, riding a horse, looking directly out at the viewer dressed in mens clothing.

The Horse Fair is available to view at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City but you need not even travel very far to see a Rosa Bonheur painting in person. Yesterday I attended a International Women’s Day tour of the National Gallery of Ireland. 

During the tour we were lead by our wonderful tour guide to paintings and sculptures made by women. Now I am a big fan of the National Gallery and yet had not noticed an original Rosa Bonheur is hung there.

Image reference: National Gallery of Ireland

I think I don’t recognise it as a Rosa Bonheur in passing because it is a small painting. When I think of a Rosa Bonheur painting I tend to imagine these huge, majestic, highly accomplished, photo realistic , beautifully executed paintings of, usually, animals.

A Stag is relatively small and our tour guide Fela explained that it was painted after her retirement. She continued to paint but as she was financially so well off she didn’t need to try and impress or even paint art with a view to be sold.

She was well established as an artist by then and in 1865 Bonheur became the first woman artist to receive the cross of the Légion d’Honneur. You can see this painting in person next time you are in Dublin at The National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square. 

Some of last Summers artists who completed their own Rosa Bonheur Masterpieces based on her lions paintings

What is the Sweetest Thing About Dublin for You? January Exhibition

I am proud to share the news, that I will exhibit some artwork alongside these talented Brazilian creatives this January at Sweet Dublin’s Life.

Curated by Chiara Rucks the event takes place in Bragadeiro’s above The Art Cafe on Frenchman’s Lane Dublin 1 to celebrate Dublin. It promises a wonderful evening filled with art and a Brazilian taste to cheer up a dreary January Monday night.

If you follow along on instagram stories I might even let you in on where my personal favourite spot in Dublin is. What is the sweetest thing about Dublin life for you?

 

#2020 exhibition/ #BraziliansinDublin @Bragadeiros #Chiararucks #DaVinciBox

 

 

Olives, Oysters and Oranges at the Olivier Cornet Gallery

I am lucky enough to have the opportunity this month to exhibit my sketchbook alongside the Dublin Sketchers at the Olivier Cornet Gallery. The current exhibition celebrates Bloomsday and features work from the esteemed artists Eoin Mac Lochlainn, Yanny Petters, Michelle Boyle, Áine Divine, John Keating and Caitríona Ní Threasaigh.

To compliment the exhibition some of the Dublin Sketchers and I have completed sketchbooks along the same theme: “Olives, Oysters and Oranges” aka food references from James Joyces Ulysses.

Gallery proprietor Olivier Cornet who curated the sketchbooks explained he was thinking about how I often love to draw marble sculpture and decided to display the sketchbook up on a plinth. I appreciate the grandeur and elegance of a plinth. My sketchbook sits happily perched on her plinth until June 30th at No. 3 Great Denmark Street. Pop in to enjoy and view the full collection of Joycean sketchbooks and fine art.

 

Reflecting on Reflections in Painting

 

I’m working on this drawing at the moment. It has my reflection in a silver Disney mug, taking a photo of the refection in the mug. So my camera has a wifi setting, I sent the photo to the iPad mini and I use that as a reference while I’m drawing. You possibly can’t make out the reflection of me with the camera yet but you will before it is finished.

Now we all know there is a huge leap between drawing from a picture on your iPad or phone and drawing or painting from real life, in terms of skill. [scroll down-post continues below the image]

When I saw this painting today “Self Portrait, New Studio Kettle” by RHA artist Una Sealy I could really appreciate the challenges she faced executing this work. Here you see her standing at her easel painting the kettle with her portrait reflected in the concave silver body.

It is obvious it is done from life rather than the lesser challenge of working from a 2D image. The artist Una Sealy had to not only transform a 3d form onto a 2d canvas, convey her own reflection distorted by the rounded shape of the kettle and also convince the viewer that this is a silver object without using metallic paint.

You can see this work yourself at the RHA 189th exhibition now open at the Royal Hibernian Gallery until the 10th of August 2019.

From my visit today I think I have chosen my person top 10 favourite artworks. I’m going to pop in again tomorrow to take another look – there are after all 500 pieces to see and then I will post my personal top 10.

 

 BP Portrait Award Winner 2018

Art Academy wishes to extend a warm congratulations to artist Miriam Escofet winner of the BP Portrait Award 2018. Miriam’s winning painting is titled “An Angel at my Table” and is a portrait of her mother.

You can see the portrait, and all selected paintings, in the BP Portrait Award 2018 exhibition, open from Thursday. A day trip to London is on the cards. Try Skyscanner for flights from €55. This is a painting worth seeing in person.

Queens of Art

I am very excited for my upcoming exhibition Queens of Art exhibition at the Minerva Gallery during the Harold’s Cross Community Festival:

Local artist Sheila Flaherty will present an exhibition of her drawings (including one large wall drawing) at the Minerva Gallery* during the week of the festival.

Poet Catherine Ann Cullen will open the exhibition on Thursday, May 17, at 6pm.

Artist’s statement:  Queens of Art is a celebration of successful female artists throughout history. Consisting of 9 portraits, this series of art, focuses the spotlight on these artists and their stories. They serve to remind us of our own individual life goals and inspire us to strive towards them and find success as they have.

*Minerva Gallery is situated in Harold’s Cross beside Five Points coffee shop and across from the Maxol Petrol Station. Map at end of post
Title : Queens of Art
Artist: Sheila Flaherty http://artacademy.ie/
Curator: Eoin Mac Lochlainn https://emacl.wordpress.com/
Opening reception on Thursday the 17th of May at 6pm
Exhibition continues on Saturday 19th May 2-5pm
and Sunday 20th of May 12-5pm

 

  SOLD