€12k Cowen portrait to go on public display 10 years after it was commissioned

€12k portrait of former taoiseach will be part of RHA exhibition
€12k Cowen portrait to go on public display 10 years after it was commissioned

Brian Cowen at an EU summit in 2011. Picture: Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images

A portrait of former taoiseach Brian Cowen is to go on display from Monday, more than a decade after it was firstcommissioned.

The portrait, by artist Blaise Smith, will go on display to the public as part of the Royal Hibernian Academy's (RHA) 192nd annual exhibition, which runs until July.

The Office of Public Works told the Irish Examiner that the €12,000 portrait will finally be hung in Leinster House later in the year. Portraits of former taoisigh hang on the landing opposite the main doors into the Dáil chamber, with the most recent portrait of Bertie Ahern unveiled in 2011.

An OPW statement said: "The first public showing of the portrait of the former taoiseach Brian Cowen will be exhibited in the Royal Hibernian Annual Exhibition, which will be open to the public from Monday May 23.

"The portrait will be displayed permanently in Leinster House in the series of portraits of former taoisigh later in the year."

It is understood that the process for commissioning a portrait of Mr Cowen's successor Enda Kenny has begun, though the commissioning of a portrait of Tánaiste Leo Varadkar may not be undertaken until after he leaves the Oireachtas.

The OPW said: "The process for commissioning official portraits of former Taoisigh for display in the series in Leinster House is that the Department of the Taoiseach requests that the OPW commence the commissioning process.

"The OPW provides the Department with a list of artists who specialise in portraiture and have significant experience in undertaking portrait commissions. An artist is selected by the Department of the Taoiseach.

"The OPW manages the commission process on behalf of the Department of the Taoiseach and the portrait is installed in Leinster House when the sitter no longer holds office there," the spokesperson said.

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