The Rediscovery of Ireland's Past: The Celtic Revival, 1830-1930
The search for an Irish identity in the visual arts has been long and fervent. The early antiquarians, led by Petrie, rediscovered ancient ruins, Celtic crosses, and such treasures as the Tara Brooch and the Book of Kells; the men of the Young Ireland movement sought Irish self-determination:... show more
The search for an Irish identity in the visual arts has been long and fervent. The early antiquarians, led by Petrie, rediscovered ancient ruins, Celtic crosses, and such treasures as the Tara Brooch and the Book of Kells; the men of the Young Ireland movement sought Irish self-determination: together, they aimed to restore Ireland's self-respect by drawing attention to her great cultural achievements of the past. Artists and craftsmen depicted antiquities and reproduced them in stone and metal. Painters such as Maclise and Burton chose subjects from the country's history, mythology and folk life.
At the turn of the century, a different approach was taken by the collector Hugh Lane, friend of Yeats, Synge and Lady Gregory, who hoped that the inspiring presence in Dublin of his collection of modern Irish and French pictures would lead to the emergence of a genuine Irish School. Finally, parallel to the literary revival led by Synge and Yeats, came the Celtic Revival in the arts and crafts, a great flowering of metalwork, textiles, architecture, and book design. At last external influences - the political, literary and language movements - coincided with talented artists who looked at the past and expressed the feeling of the times in what they made. The result was a true Irish Renaissance in art.
The products of this search for an Irish culture, many of them illustrated here for the first time, are striking in themselves; and the story of the quest, intimately linked with Ireland's political and cultural aspirations, adds a fascinating chapter to the history of the rise of a sense of national character.
Publish date: 1980
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Pages no: 208
Edition language: English
As a force fueling the development of an Irish national identity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Celtic Revival proved an important movement in modern Irish history. Yet with such luminaries as William Butler Yeats and J. M. Synge among its leading figures, the literary expression of...
19th-century Irish culture was "marked by a growing sense of national identity, embracing the whole population, and linked to the Celtic past." Especially after 1829, there was a general European increase in interest in history, especially medieval. In Ireland this was important as a source of ident...