I have been to the Lavinia Fontana exhibition in the National Gallery and to a talk on her by an interesting English art historian.
Lavinia Fontana is not really a name to conjure with. She’s not particularly well known but the art historian argues that she should be. She’s a mannerist artist from Bologna and the first woman to do a lot of things. The exhibition is terrific and worth your time should you be in Dublin. Sadly, it does not include this picture which I would really like to see in the flesh. Fontana is brilliant at painting children. The art historian said that part of the reason Fontana is not better known is that museums leave her work in storage instead of displaying it and that this is a fate which befalls many female artists which is a depressing thought.
Speaking of unjustly neglected female artists, I also went to a talk by the novelist Mary Morrissy on Una Watters. I had never heard of Watters and her work is lovely. Mary Morrissy has been working to resurrect her from obscurity and has a website championing her work. Apparently one of Watters’s paintings – The People’s Gardens – is in storage in the Hugh Lane gallery and I, for one, will be heading in to see if I can get them to dig it out and let me have a look. You should too.
Mr. Waffle and I did another walking tour with Dublin decoded. These tours are so good – it is pretty unusual to get a tour in the city where you live and learn lots of new things. Did you know that for a while Heuston Station had the largest span of railway sheds in the world? That the crowns were taken off King’s Bridge when it was renamed Heuston bridge but you can still see the cast iron cushions where they used to sit? The tour is full of quirky layers of detail after detail and the guide full of ebullient enthusiasm for his subject. A delight.
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