Summary of galley

On 16 January this year I visited the Dublin City Gallery Hugh Lane. The neoclassical building was designed by William Chambers and James Caulfield. The Cork born art dealer in 1908 opened the gallery to store both contemporary and modern art pieces. There has been a special wing added since then to accommodate the gallery work, resources and restaurant. The layout of the actual gallery is quite simple. The main exhibitions run through 4 wide long rooms. These are permanent collections themed together by era. There are also small rooms off the main exhibits containing themed pieces.

Discuss general layout

It is all mainly based on the ground floor and is wheelchair accessible. The layout sees large seated areas facing the main pieces in the big rooms with a few paintings spaced out at eye level on the walls behind. The presentation of the Monet piece is exceptional. Placed on a cream wall with a gold frame it stands out and there are seats facing it as it’s housed alongside other impressionists pieces in a large room. With free entry to the gallery and good lighting, the painting is well presented. There is also an information outlet to its lower left hand side, containing details about the painting to inform viewers.

The Harry Clarke piece is also laid out well in its own separate room off the side entrance. It is in a blacked out room with contemporary glass stained pieces. There is a light behind the glass pieces so the full effect of the colours can be seen. It is housed in a much smaller room which makes the experience more enjoyable and personable. I would have liked to have a curtained door however to further blacken the room.

The names of the exhibition were the Harry Clarke EVE of St. Agnes and Claude Monet Waterloo bridge. Both are housed in the permanent collection at the Hugh Lane and paid guided tours of them are available.

Harry Clarke discussion

The first piece I will discuss is the Harry Clarke Eve of Agnes. It is a stained glass window so it is paint on glass in a variety of wide range of colours. It is also essential to have light shine from the back and be housed in a blacked out room. The subject matter is inspired by a poem by Yeats. The 14 panelled glass piece holds the 47 verses compacted into 14 panels which tell and significant part of the beautiful story line. The story is of the tradition of the Eve of St. Agnes 20th January where fair maidens are told to fast and wait for their lover to appear and rescue them during the night. Madelin in this story is follow this procedure when asleep her lover Porpheryo appears and whisks her away. Banned by Madelines father to enter the castle Madeline thought she was dreaming but infact she wasn’t and her lover captured her away and brought her free safe from the castle. Along with each panel elongated figures are accompanied by a quote form a verse of the poem in which it depicts.

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting this piece. Seeing it in person gave me an experience seeing in the text back didn’t. The main colour purple and blue shone through the glass beautifully. The story was really loved also and I think it’s a wonderful subject matter. The tiny detail Harry Clarke managed to include was phenomenal. My favourite part was panel 7. We see in this panel a miniature portrayal of a stained glass window. The moon shines through this onto the bed of the sleeping Madeline like jewels on her bed cover. The wardrobe in her bedroom is in fact based on a real one. The detail Clarke manages to get in is something that you couldn’t see on the television or on a computer screen. The way the room was laid out was perfect to draw our attention to the symmetrical windows of hair in the darkened room. Seats in the room would have been preferable. Overall it was an enjoyable experience.

Monet discussion

The second piece we went to view was the Waterloo Bridge by Claude Monet. Having studied other works by Monet I was very excited to see an original in person and get a real vision of thick impasto and the scale and texture of the drawing which cannot be seen in a text book or on a projector screen.  The material used by Monet in this painting in his series (41) was oil paint on canvas. It is hung in a decorated gold frame. The subject matter is of the busy Waterloo Bridge filled with both pedestrians and automated vehicle traffic. This is indicated by the foggy nature of the bridge. The horizontal bridge is contrasted by the vertical built up areas of the background. Techniques used are those typical to Monet like impasto general brushstrokes, it is painted en plein air capturing the busy fleeting moment and the hazy feel is gotten by the wet paint placed on wet paint. I again loved going to see this piece as I felt I understand the whole of Monet’s paintings better than I did before. It was placed in a room alongside other contemporaries of his which I thought was an excellent idea to have a brightly lit, easily accessible room in which I was able to contrast and view other impressionists work. I got a great sense of the texture and scale of the painting also. There were seats available in the room so it made sitting and viewing the painting comfortable and enjoyable.