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  Home > History > Famine Studies >

In the Lion's Den: Daniel Macdonald, Ireland and Empire
In the Lion's Den Daniel Macdonald, Ireland and Empire


 
Our Price:29.00
Authors: Niamh O'Sullivan
Affiliation: Curator of Ireland's Great Hunger Museum, Quinnipiac University
Publication Year: Softback February 2016
Pages: 152
Size: 254 x 203

ISBN: 9780990468684
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Description
 
In 1847, in the British Institution, there hung a harrowing painting 'An Irish Peasant Family Discovering the Blight of their Store', the first and the last known contemporaneous painting of the Great Irish Famine. The painter was Daniel Macdonald (1820-1853), a young Irish artist recently arrived in London.

Niamh O'Sullivan's fascinating book reveals compelling new subtexts to the work of Macdonald and re-establishes him as a painter of national importance; it also sheds original light on the social and visual culture of Ireland in the years leading up to and including the Famine. Themes rarely visited by Irish artists rural agitation, superstition and folkore, as well as aspects of the national character were given spirited treatment by Macdonald who insinuated such subject matter in to the salons of metropolitan London, to venues distinctly hostile to Irish poverty, hunger and violence.

Simultaneously courted by the aristocracy, and loyal to his roots in Cork, his responses to the conditions in which he grew up, and became an artist of distinction, have not been told before. Macdonald is the subject of an exhibition in Ireland's Great Hunger Museum (January 20 through April 17, 2016), and is undergoing a major re-evaluation as an artist. This critical biography is essential reading for anyone interested in Irish art and history.

Niamh O'Sullivan is Professor Emeritus of Visual Culture (National College of Art and Design) and Curator of Ireland's Great Hunger Museum, Quinnipiac University.



Average Rating: 5 of 5 Total Reviews: 1 Write a review »

  2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
 
In the Lions Den: Daniel Macdonald, Ireland and Em February 23, 2016
Reviewer: Luke Gibbons, Professor of Irish Literature from Ireland  
In this pioneering study, Niamh O'Sullivan charts the elusive career of Daniel Macdonald recovering his once impressive reputation from the archives of the overlooked. Cork featured prominently in depictions of the Great Famine, not only on account of the immense suffering that took place there, but it also produced the artists that confronted the disaster, and evoked it on canvas or in illustration. Macdonald was the only painter to give direct rendition of the horror. His ground-breaking work is set in its immediate artistic and iconographic context, and the study also places the artist in a wider cultural firmament in Cork and London that has included Daniel Maclise, Thomas Crofton Croker, James McDaniel, William Maginn, Francis Sylvester Mahony (Fr. Prout), Thomas Davis, and others. The Famine tested the limits of visual representation, but here we see how one artist rose to the challenge, capturing aspects of the hidden Ireland that arrest the eye, even 150 years later.

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