Irish painters face up to master Caravaggio

Irish painters such as Seán Scully and Paul Henry will go up against master Caravaggio in the battle for Ireland’s favourite painting.

The Taking of Christ by Caravaggio, A Connemara Village by Paul Henry and Wall of Light Orange Yellow by Seán Scully all feature in the final short list of an RTÉ campaign to find Ireland’s favourite painting which starts next week.

The list, which was drawn from a long-list of 100 nominated by the public and the curators, directors and boards of public art collections throughout Ireland, also features works by Harry Clarke, Jack B Yeats, Frederic William Burton, Louis Le Brocquy, William John Leech, Johannes Vermeer, and John Lavery.

Over the coming weeks, across several RTÉ broadcasts, there will be numerous opportunities for people to engage with the 10 shortlisted paintings.

A documentary, Masterpiece: Ireland’s Favourite Painting, presented by Mike Murphy, and airing on Tuesday Apr 17 on RTÉ One will give viewers an introduction to each of the ten works – and artists – on the shortlist.

Each week on RTÉ’s One’s The Works, well-known faces will champion and make a case for their own personal favourite.

This week, former snooker world champion Ken Doherty, discusses his passion for

Caravaggio when he champions The Taking of Christ, while Sr Stanislaus Kennedy promotes A Convent Garden, Brittany, by William Leech.

Members of the public will be able to vote for their favourite piece online at or through the An Post Business Response Unit, free of charge, by sending a postcard to RTÉ’s Freepost address. The final winner will be announced on a special edition of RTÉ’s The Works by President Michael D Higgins on May 24.

Sarah Ryder of RTÉ Factual and Arts section said the show was a public service initiative.

“RTE’s Masterpiece: Ireland’s Favourite Painting is very much a public service initiative, designed to get the nation talking about art and hopefully visiting the many public galleries around the country where beautiful works of art are on display, for free, to the Irish public,” she said.

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