The Irish Face

Redefining the Irish Portrait

The Irish Face cover

Out of print

The Irish Face
Redefining the Irish Portrait
Fintan Cullen

The relationship between art and national identity is a recurring theme in modern history. Is it possible to define a 'national' school of art? How far does culture inspire or reflect social and political change? The Irish Face tackles these questions head-on with a bold and original analysis of three centuries of portraiture.

Starting with a discussion of what makes a portrait particular to one country or region, Fintan Cullen explores the contradictions within existing definitions of national art. Politics, geography, religion, commerce, class, gender and the affiliations of artists and sitters all play a part in how we read and respond to portraiture. But the history of Ireland and the experience of the Irish diaspora present the need for a redefinition of Irish portraiture.

The Irish Face includes chapters on the production of portraiture both in and about Ireland, the political portrait, the family and the biographical portrait, and the relationship between portraiture and success. Featuring over 100 illustrations, from Jonathan Swift, Charles Stewart Parnell and Seamus Heaney, to Bono and Mary Robinson, this ambitious study by Fintan Cullen brings a refreshing and important perspective to our understanding of art, history and national culture.

248 x 196mm, 240 pages, 158 illustrations, 78 in colour, ISBN 1 85514 290 2, Special online promotion £10 (RRP £30 hardback), Published June 2004

More information

Fintan Cullen is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Art History at the University of Nottingham and author of Visual Politics: The Representation of Ireland 1750-1930 and Sources in Irish Art: A Reader.

This product is supplied by the National Portrait Gallery Company Limited. 

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