I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Catherine Marshall

But Is It Art?

A source book of commentary over 300 years on Irish art

Who invented Ireland?

A study of the promotion of Ireland through art in the United States provides, thanks to its author’s formidable research, a tapestry of who is who, and where and how they lived and dined, between Dublin, Chicago and New York, with occasional forays to London, Paris, Boston and even New Orleans.

The Cat’s Pounce

Linda Nochlin considers one interpretation after another of Courbet’s ‘The Painter’s Studio’. Teasing her prey, she draws out successive meanings, delivering stylish and brilliant asides on the social, intellectual, political and art-historical context, until finally she moves in for the kill.

Gorgeous and Sinful

Harry Clarke’s work in stained glass can be read in a variety of ways – as modernist, late Victorian, political, even apolitical, but whichever way one argues about interpretations it is hard to question his achievements.

Vorsprung in the Free State

When the Shannon hydroelectric scheme was built in the 1920s it rapidly became a major tourist attraction, even a new national monument. But it was a monument that offered a future in contrast to the thousands of historic sites that sang of what had been lost in the past.

Nicola Gordon Bowe (1948-2018)

Nicola Gordon Bowe, who died suddenly last month, was an expert on the work of stained glass artists Harry Clarke and Wilhelmina Geddes. She was the pioneer writer who fought to have craft and design recognised intellectually as operating on an equal footing with the fine arts.

A Study of Scarlet

Michel Pastoureau’s account of the history of the colour red is in many respects fascinating. But what worked well for his previous studies of black, blue and green comes up a little short for red, a colour which is oceanic and in whose multiplicity of meanings one might well drown.

Desperately Seeking Focus

An exhibition that confuses painting with reportage does not make for great art. History painting is not and was never meant to be reportage. Rather its aims were to instil feelings of reverence for the heroes of the past and pride in the stories that shape a nation’s identity.

Picturing the People

Daniel Macdonald’s ‘An Irish Peasant Family Discovering the Blight of their Store’ is perhaps a strange painting for a man wanting to make his career in London to produce. Macdonald’s sympathy for the downtrodden and their culture is unique in his generation.

Captured By Light

Stained glass is a difficult medium to make one’s living in. Even in wartime, when Wilhelmina Geddes received many commissions for memorial windows, her work was frustrated by the scarcity of lead, which was also needed for bullets and coffins.