During our visit the gallery was partially closed as it is currently going through a refurbishment programme. There were a few rooms open with both permanent collection exhibits and temporary exhibitions.
The National Gallery has a very good collection of 19th and early 20th century Irish art, and also an excellent, world-class, Old Masters collections that includes a Caravaggio and a Vermeer! Some of my other favorites included pieces by Velasquez, Ribera, Breughel, Titian, and Reynolds. Admission is free - yay!
The main entrance - which I believe presently is the only one - is through the new Addition on Clare Street. Too bad they didn't choose a design that was a little more inviting, IMHO. This is another exercise in the Brutalist style, created by an English firm, Benson & Forsyth.
I wanted to visit this museum anyway but I was more than glad to see it when I was caught in an unexpected downpour!
There are two entrances - the Clare St one leads to the new Millenium Wing, featuring the most recent works (and probably my favourite part of the gallery!) or there is the original Georgian entrance on Merrion Sq West which I used. The gallery contains many works of western European art from as far back as the middle ages, right to the present day.
The lower level of the Milltown Wing concentrates on Irish artists such as Jack B Yeats.
David wanted to pop by the gift store here after his swim in the famous Liffey River race to get a copy of "The Liffey Swim" by Irish artist Jack B. Yeats, we had a bit of time to kill before dinner so we decided to have a look around the museum as there is free admission to all but special exhibits. While it doesn't rival art museums in larger cities such as Paris or New York, the National Gallery does have a nice collection of Irish paintings which isn't something that you always see at major art museums. The Yeats wing had the original of "The Liffey Swim" plus many other paintings by Jack B. Yeats, the younger brother of writer W.B. Yeats. While not on my list of must sees in Dublin, it was a nice diversion for the hour we had to spare and a good place to get out of the rain for a bit.
There was some construction going on to the galleries so I'm not entirely sure we saw all of the galleries. If you enjoy Italian Renaissance art, you might find that you want to spend more time here than me as that's not really my favorite period, not a lot from the impressionist period but there are are a few paintings including a Monet, a Sisley and a Pisarro.
In 1976, Sir Alfred and Lady Clementine established the Alfred Beit Foundation to ensure that the eighteenth-century mansion would be maintained for the nation. They donated the great works of art listed below in 1987:
Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), 'The Cottage Girl'
Francisco de Goya (1746-1828), 'Doña Antonia Zárate'
Frans Hals (c.1580/83-1666), 'The lute player'
Meindert Hobbema (1638-1709), 'A wooded landscape - the path on the dyke'
Gabriel Metsu (1629-1667), 'A man writing a letter'
Gabriel Metsu (1629-1667), 'A woman reading a letter'
Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1617-1682), A series of 6 paintings telling the story of the Prodigal Son: 'The Prodigal Son receiving his portion', 'The departure of the Prodigal Son', 'The Prodigal son feasting', 'The Prodigal Son driven out', 'The Prodigal Son feeding swine', 'The return of the Prodigal Son'
Henry Raeburn (1756-1823), 'Sir John and Lady Clerk of Penicuik'
Jacob van Ruisdael (c.1628/29-1682), 'The Castle of Bentheim'
Jan Steen (1625/26-1679), 'The Marriage Feast at Cana'
Diego Velázquez (1599-1660), 'Kitchen Maid with the Supper at Emmaus'
Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), 'A woman writing a letter with her maidservant'
1997: Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957), 'The Beggarman in the Shop', 1924
2000: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), 'The Castellated Rhine', c.1832
Besides these paintings there are numerous statuary and artifacts well worth seeing. We especially enjoyed Ireland's own National Art.
Ireland's National Gallery first opened in 1864 to display Irish and European paintings. Admission is free, and though the collection is not that big, there are some interesting pieces that truly make it worth stopping by. Perhaps the gallery's most famous painting is Caravaggio's "The Taking of Christ", which was lost for about 200 years until it was discovered in a Jesuit house on Leeson Street in 1993 (it had been mistaken for a copy of the original!). There are also some nice specimens from the Spanish, French, Italian, German, Dutch (including Vermeer's "Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid"), Flemish and British schools of paintings, and of course a large collection of Irish paintings. When I was at the gallery, there was a special exhibition dedicated to the works of Irish painter Thomas Roberts, which mainly featured beautiful landscapes from rural Ireland. But the highlight of the gallery for me was the Yeats Museum, a small room entirely dedicated to the works of John, Jack and William Butler Yeats. Of the three, Jack was definitely the best painter. I don't believe I'd ever had the chance before to see some of his work, and I found that many of the pieces, especially the one entitled "For the Road", were quite stunning.
The National Gallery of Ireland is open from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm (Monday to Saturday, with late nights on Thursdays), and from noon to 5:30 pm on Sundays.
It was founded in 1854 and opened its doors ten years later in 1864. The Gallery has an extensive, representative collection of Irish painting and is also notable for its Italian Baroque and Dutch masters painting. The current director of the gallery is Raymond Keaveney. Entry to the gallery is free.
Dublin's National Gallery is quite a good place to see art in a rainy day... It doesn't have many glorious artworks, but it has big names - both irish and international. In the irish section, don't miss the paintings by the Jack and John Butler Yeats... the poet's brother and father.
Some international names worth admiring are: Rodin, Turner, Van Dyck, Rubens, Monet, Goya, El Greco, Bellini, Michelangelo, Tintoretto, Titian and Caravaggio. Don't miss Caravaggio's "The Taking of Christ" - the lost painting known only through replicas, until a few years ago. it was found by chance in a Jesuit house of studies in Leeson Street.
We went through this gallery rather quickly just to get a taste of the various collections. They were fabulous! Although a lot of it revolves around Irish landscape and culture, I was really surprised that most of the major schools of art were represented in the museum.
They have an excellent Caravaggio which is something to brag about. I also am a big fan of Yeats paintings which they have entire room for!
It was a beautiful museum and I would love to go back again with more time.
Oh! And its FREE, and F-R-E-E spells Good.
The National Gallery of Ireland is housed in the very central location known as Government buildings. Handilly, this includes the Irish Parliament, the Department of the Taoiseach (which you can visit on certain days), the National Museum, the Natural history museum (one of the finest examples of a victorian cabinet museum you are likely to come across!), National Library and last but by no means least the National Gallery.
The Gallery is housed mainly in a mid-19th century building, although it does now have a new millenium wing. The collection is eclectic, with eclesiastical art, old masters, a Caravaggio of which the Gallery is rightly proud, many impresionists and a fine collection of British and Irish artists. How it should be rated I cannot say but I have always found it worth my while to spend some time there! I particularly like the newish Yeats room, which gathers the impressive achievments of the Yeats family together, though obviously focusing more on the works of Jack Yeats, perhaps the finest Irish painter of his generation and brother to nobel prizewinning poet W B Yeats. Their father was also a fine painter and other members of the family were active in the arts and crafts movement of the early 20th century. The Gallery also has the largest archive of Yeats material anywhere, though this is available to researchers only. The Gallery has a fine print collection and a print gallery which often has on travelling exhibitions. The new millenium wing, tends to house temporary exhibitions, an extensive shop and a restaurant and coffee shop.
On one of my several trips to the Washington D.C. area, I realized one constant truth about museums. The good ones are free. The National Gallery is both good and free to get in. Showcasing a wide variety of art from the 14th to the 20th centuries, it is well worth the investment of time to see. I'm not exactly sure what I expected to see when I went, but I do know that my expectations were exceeded and I felt it was a good gallery to check out.
As is expected, there is an appropriate section of art from Jack B. Yeats, as well as a full portrait gallery that was opened in 2003 that showcases important Irish figures. To commemorate the opening, a very interesting and artistic rendering of Bono was placed inside the gallery (I think it is one of the most interesting paintings in the whole building). Another must see is Carvaggio's "The Taking of Christ" (1602) which was actually the subject of books and worldwide search after it was deemed "missing". The painting was "found" in a Dublin residence and now resides in the National Gallery.
Perhaps surprisingly (to me at least) Ireland's National Gallery is fantastic!!! Has a great variety from early Spanish and Italian Renaissance, through the Dutch Golden Age right up to the present day.
My only regret was I couldn't spend more than a couple of hours here.
It's free !!!! (but donations are welcome).