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  • Writer's pictureFlora

Discover Great Art in Ireland

Here in Paris, we are lucky to have many great art museums that boast incredible pieces from all cultures and eras. But there are still so many masterpieces around the world. In Dublin, there is the National Gallery of Ireland. Here is a true treasure trove of impeccable work. It’s a must-visit for any art lover.



Looking to see what you’ve been missing? On your next trip to Dublin, make sure to reach out to our good friend Garvan. He’s a private tour guide who’s built an excellent team that offers private, custom-made tours all over Dublin.


Garvan tour in dublin city ireland
Garvan in Dublin

To celebrate their Dublin art tours and to spend some time coveting the amazing artwork on display in that beautiful city, we’ve put together a list of the top four paintings to see at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin.


The Best Paintings in the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin


1. The Taking of the Christ (1602) by Caravaggio


The Taking of the Christ (1602) by Caravaggio
The Taking of the Christ (1602) by Caravaggio

Ah, Caravaggio. Like all of his great works, this painting is disturbing, dark, violent. It’s close observation of humanity in its bleakest acts — like taking Christ to be crucified — makes the viewer consider their own lesser nature.


In this work, Caravaggio updates the look, putting the soldiers in armor that would be more fit on an Early Modern battlefield than in ancient Rome. Note how he characteristically uses light and shadow to produce drama while also crowding up to the people in the scene to produce a sense of intimacy, which is quite rare for Biblical subject matter.


Related work to see at the Louvre:

●     Death of a Virgin gives you more Caravaggio.

●     There are some other Caravaggio paintings at the Louvre, too.


2. Woman Writing a Letter, with her Maid (c.1670) by Johannes Vermeer


Woman Writing a Letter, with her Maid (c.1670) by Johannes Vermeer
Woman Writing a Letter, with her Maid (c.1670) by Johannes Vermeer

Vermeer applied his mastery time and time again to domestic scenes, capturing quiet moments that spoke to life as it was actually lived in his day. Here, we have one of his most remarkable pieces, completed near the end of his life. It depicts letter writing, a practical act that carried with it a certain art of its own.


His precision and photorealism made him one of the leading masters of the Dutch Golden Age, and looking at this, we can see why. The window spills light into the room, such a convincing illusion that we turn from it to consider the mistress who is writing a letter, waiting for her to finish before engaging her in conversation.


Related work to see at the Louvre:

●     The Lacemaker is one of Vermeer’s most impressive (and most miniature) creations.


3. Kitchen Maid with the Supper at Emmaus (c.1617-1618) by Diego Velázquez


Kitchen Maid with the Supper at Emmaus (c.1617-1618) by Diego Velázquez
Kitchen Maid with the Supper at Emmaus (c.1617-1618) by Diego Velázquez

This is the earliest known work by Velázquez — the most important Spanish painter of his generation. That makes this, in some ways, a great stepping out into the limelight. It shows a lively mind at work. Note how he turned expectations on their head by putting a working servant in the foreground and an image of Christ in the background.


The inversion highlights the artist’s emphasis on reality. This approach would inspire, some 200 years later, the works of Realists in France. His ongoing experimentation with brushwork would also influence the likes of Claude Monet.


Related work to see at the Louvre:

●     Several portraits, including of Queen Maria Anna of Austria

●     To see his influence on Realism, you will need to visit the Musée d'Orsay and find many masterpieces by Gustave Courbet.


4. The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife (c.1854) by Daniel Maclise


The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife (c.1854) by Daniel Maclise
The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife (c.1854) by Daniel Maclise

A sweeping masterpiece that demands to be seen in person, this work marks the momentous occasion when the conquering Norman Richard de Clare (Strongbow) married the daughter of the King of Leinster. It is a tragic moment for many Irish, depicted here not so much as a wedding ceremony but as a battle scene.


Born in Cork, Ireland, Maclise spent his career in London where he established himself as a painter capable of producing history paintings with the pomp and circumstance we crave. But his characters never fade into the simplicity that is common in the field. Instead, the people are fully alive. In this image, for instance, note how the King of Leinster (standing between the married couple) eyes Strongbow with fury and suspicion.



Related work to see at the Louvre:

●     The Louvre is home to great history paintings like Jacques-Louis David’s The Coronation of Napoleon.



See Dublin’s Art



Art lovers can’t go wrong when they check out the phenomenal collection at the National Gallery of Ireland.



And there’s no better way to see these works than with Garvan and his Museum tour of Dublin !



After his Irish culture, history and Celtic studies, Garvan has put together a dream team of Irish tour guides that give you a fully authentic view of the city on bespoke walking tours that immerse you in the life and the vibe of Dublin.


Dublin Pub tour






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