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Visualising a changing city

Delving into a hitherto unexplored aspect of Irish art history, Painting Dublin, 1886–1949 examines the depiction of Dublin by artists from the late-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Artists’ representations of the city have long been markers of civic pride and identity, yet in Ireland, such artworks have been overlooked in favour of the rural and pastoral, falling outside of the dominant disciplinary narratives of nationalism or modernism. Framed by the shift from city of empire to capital of an independent republic, this book chiefly examines artworks by of Walter Frederick Osborne (1857–1903), Rose Mary Barton (1856–1929), Jack Butler Yeats (1871–1957), Harry Aaron Kernoff (1900–74), Estella Frances Solomons (1882–1968), and Flora Hippisley Mitchell (1890–1973), encompassing a variety of urban views and artistic themes. While Dublin is renowned for its representation in literature, this book will demonstrate how the city was also the subject of a range of visual depictions, including those in painting and print. Focusing on the images created by these artists as they navigated the city’s streets, this book offers a vivid visualisation of Dublin and its inhabitants, challenging a reengagement with Ireland’s art history through the prism of the city and urban life.

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Kathryn Milligan

, One Book Lectures 2014 (in association with Dublin City Public Libraries). Series Editor L. Collins, General Editor P. J. Matthews, 8. www.ucd.ie/scholarcast/transcripts/ writing_the_city.pdf (accessed 21 April 2020). 2 J. Moynahan, ‘The image of the City in nineteenth century Irish fiction’, in M. Harmon (ed.), The Irish Writer and the City (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe; Totowa: Barnes and Noble, 1984), p. 16. 3 D. Kiberd, ‘The city in Irish culture’, in D. Kiberd (ed.), The Irish Writer and the World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 294. 4

in Painting Dublin, 1886–1949
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From Empire to Republic, 1886–1949
Kathryn Milligan

the use of the urban fabric (through architecture and public sculpture) to signal and represent political ideas. Writing in the introduction to The Cambridge Companion to Modern Irish Culture, Joe Cleary noted that modernity and modernisation in Ireland ‘meant 24 MILLIGAN 9781526144102 PRINT.indd 24 01/10/2020 14:52 Introduction: from Empire to Republic, 1886–1949 something quite different to what it did to its near neighbours in Europe’, and certainly the experience of the ‘modern city’ in Dublin took a different course to many of the canonical cities

in Painting Dublin, 1886–1949
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Imagining ways of ‘being together’
Declan Long

its militaristic murals into the highlight of the city tour’.71 What may make a project such as The Vacuum so important, therefore, is that it chooses to exist ‘in a mode outside the recognised “communities” (nationalist, unionist and liberal)’, which, Graham concludes, ‘makes it incapable of such assimilation’.72 It is a project that is ‘gloriously unrecognisable to mainstream Northern Irishculture” ’.73 This ‘unrecognisable’ element is significantly ambiguous, since the cultural out-​of-​the-​ordinariness that The Vacuum promotes is so fully grounded in facts

in Ghost-haunted land
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‘Northern Irish art’ in the wider world
Declan Long

visibly invest a great deal in the public representation of their own city. Here, for instance, we might cite the example of Catalyst Arts, an evolving artists’ network and exhibition space founded in 1993, that has claimed to be motivated by ‘an intense interest in the cultural development of Belfast, as well as the representation of N. Irish culture globally’.96 Similarly, Belfast Exposed, a gallery and commissioning organisation dealing principally with contemporary photography but also with documentary video, archival research and various ‘art’ iterations of each of

in Ghost-haunted land