One of the country’s most important and popular paintings has been restored and returned to permanent display at the National Gallery of Ireland.
‘The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife’ by Corkman Daniel Maclise (1806-1870) returns to the Shaw Room after a seven-year hiatus.
A book on the painting’s conservation process will also be published to coincide with the reopening of the gallery on June 15.
The vast majority of the gallery’s exhibition space has been closed for conservation for almost six years.
The painting underwent technical examination and the most up-to-date, non-invasive, conservation procedures during this time.
“The conservation of Maclise’s ‘The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife’ has been one of the most complex, challenging and rewarding projects undertaken by the Gallery’s Conservation Department,” said the gallery’s head of conservation, Simone Mancini.
“We are delighted to have available a publication on the project which documents in detail the process involved in conserving this celebrated Irish work in the collection.”
‘The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife’ was given to the gallery by Richard Wallace in 1879 and is the “most-read” Irish history painting in the National Gallery of Ireland’s collection.
It is also one of the earliest paintings by an Irish artist acquired for the national collection.
Brendan Rooney, curator of Irish art, at National Gallery of Ireland said the painting shows an artist at the “height of his powers”.
“‘The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife’ is a theatrical tour de force, a consummate display by an artist at the height of his powers and popularity,” said Dr Rooney.
“The conservation project that this publication celebrates, and the scholarly research closely related to it, contribute hugely to this ongoing process of discovery.”
The painting will be displayed in the Shaw Room when the historic wings of the gallery reopen, as part of the permanent collection.
Admission to the permanent collection is free.
The conservation of the painting was funded by Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and was one of 10 international projects that benefitted from the funding. Sean Rainbird, director of the National Gallery of Ireland, said the support has allowed this “wonderful Irish masterpiece” to be restored.
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