The National Gallery of Ireland houses the Irish national collection of Irish and European art. It is located in the centre of Dublin with one entrance on Merrion Square, beside Leinster House, and another on Clare Street. It was founded in 1854 and opened its doors ten years later. 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.
In 1853 an exhibition, the Great Industrial Exhibition, was held on the lawns of Leinster House in Dublin. Among the most popular exhibits was a substantial display of works of art organized and underwritten by the railway magnate William Dargan. The enthusiasm of the visiting crowds demonstrated a public for art and it was decided to establish a permanent public art collection as a lasting monument of gratitude to Dargan. The façade of the National Gallery copies the Natural History building of the National Museum of Ireland which was already planned for the facing flank of Leinster House. The building itself was designed by Francis Fowke, based on early plans by Charles Lanyon and was completed in 1864.
Highlights of the Collection:
The collection includes 14,000 artworks, including 2,500 oil paintings, 5,000 drawings, 5,000 prints and some sculpture, furniture and other works of art.
- Luis de Morales (c.1592–86) St Jerome in the Wilderness 1570s
- Pablo Ruiz Picasso (1881–1973) Still-Life with Mandolin 1924
- Francisco Zurbarán (1598–1664) The Immaculate Conception early 1660s
- Jacques Yverni (flourished 1410–38) The Annunciation c.1435
- Paul Signac (1863–1935) Lady on the Terrace 1898
- Kees van Dongen (1877–1968) Stella in a Flowered Hat c.1907
British and American
- Caravaggio (1571–1610) The Taking of Christ 1602
- Guido Reni (1575–1624) The Suicide of Cleopatra c.1639–40
- Domenichino (1581–1641) Saint Mary Magdalene c.1625
- Henry Raeburn (1756–1823) Sir John and Lady Clerk of Penicuik 1791
- John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) The Bead Stringers of Venice 1880–82
- Stanley Royle (1888–1961) The Goose Girl c.1921
Drawings and Watercolours
- Augustus Nicholas Burke (1838–1891) Connemara Girl (1865).
- Nathaniel Hone the Elder (1718–84) The Conjurer, 1775
- Sarah Purser (1848–1943) Le Petit Dejeuner 1881
- Roderic O'Conor (1860–1940) Le Jeune Bretonne c.1895
- Louis le Brocquy (1916) A Family 1951
- James Malton (1760–1803) The Custom House
- Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–82) Jane Burden as Queen Guinevere 1858
- Edgar Degas (1834–1917) Two Ballet Dancers in a Dressing Room
- Pablo Ruiz Picasso (1881–1973) Two Dancers 1925