A travel blog of Ireland and Europe

Hugh Lane Gallery

We were at the Hugh Lane Gallery on Sunday for a concert (see Other tab, 13 Mar) and we couldn’t help but be struck by the large numbers of very fine art works they hold. This is a place that is 15 minutes away on the bus from where we live and entry is free – a treasure trove right on our doorstep. For example, in just three rooms I spotted one or more works by Degas, Manet, Monet, Boudin, Pissarro, Corot and Renoir. How impressive is that? And all in plain view with just the occasional attendant sitting in a chair (works of art themselves, some of them – the attendants, not the chairs) to stop the art thieves. No laser beams here.

So I went back there today and took a few photos. It was about 11am and I would say there were fewer than 20 people wandering around. There are some really wonderful works there. For instance, Monet’s painting of the Waterloo Bridge, quite different from his water lilies, capturing the grime, the soot, the smog and the industry that was Victorian London. And then, when you look closely, you see it is rush hour and the bridge is thronged with people and carriages. The view is from his window at the Savoy hotel.

(By the way, I am still very pleased with my new camera – it is getting great detail. If you look at the high resolution version of the Monet on Flickr and enlarge it you can clearly see his brush strokes – https://www.flickr.com/photos/pipandbruce/albums/72157665773994672.)

The Renoir is interesting too – “Umbrellas”. Originally, all the people in it were painted in an Impressionistic style but later Renoir went back and repainted the clothing of the woman at the left of the picture in a more severe and modern style. X-ray analysis has shown the original clothing underneath.

And I really like the beach scene by Boudin – so much going on and it’s not hard to imagine being there. But they are all in their own way interesting so I felt that it was worth highlighting them here. The slides will give you a quick taste but do go to Flickr to see them in a more leisurely way.

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Sir Hugh Lane, the philanthropist who set up the gallery in 1908, was very keen on Impressionist art but of course at that time it was quite recent in origin and so when he opened his gallery it was called The Municipal Gallery of Modern Art! Now run by the City Council, its official name is “Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane”.

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