22 December 2020
By Tom Collins
Crawford Art Gallery will close its doors at 3pm on December 24th in line with today’s latest Government COVID-19 guidelines. In the meantime, Crawford invite you to their exhibition online. It features the magic of Harry Clarke allowing visitors to go behind the frame and discover hidden details close up. www.crawfordartgallery.ie/harry-clarke-marginalia/
In place of its annual exhibition of magical Harry Clarke watercolours, Crawford Art Gallery has taken the opportunity to present them in all their exquisite detail online.
The online exhibition Harry Clarke Marginalia lets virtual visitors get up close to the artist’s delicate studies for his celebrated stained-glass masterpiece, The Eve of St Agnes (1924). Just shy of a hundred years old, Clarke’s watercolours are filled with ethereal figures and wintry blue colour.
The exhibition’s curator, Michael Waldron says: “We love to share our collection of Harry Clarke watercolours with visitors at this time of year, but the challenges of 2020 made us rethink how we could present them in an imaginative and accessible way particularly at a time when people cannot visit the gallery in person.”
“This online format allows us to share details usually hidden within the frame,” he continues. “It’s very exciting to reveal Clarke’s working notes, doodles, and other sketches found only in the margins or on the reverse of his studies.”
Among these usually hidden details is a nude life drawing, handwritten instructions on colour choices, grotesque faces, clues to his wider artistic and musical network, and a possible self-portrait of the artist.
Visitors across Ireland and the world can now enter Clarke’s imagination from the comfort of their own homes, schools, or workplaces. Waldron continues: “It is important for us to make these treasures of the national collection available to the public, particularly at a time when some will not be able to visit the gallery in person.”
Made in support of a commission from Harold Jacob of Jacob’s Biscuits in 1923, Clarke’s watercolours are inspired by “The Eve of St Agnes”, a poem written by John Keats in 1819 and published in 1820.
This exhibition is presented online, Crawford Art Gallery will now close to the public on December 24thand visitors will have the opportunity to encounter Clarke’s work as well as other exhibition material and activities on its website.
Harry Clarke Marginalia and other gallery activities can be viewed online here: https://crawfordartgallery.ie/harry-clarke-marginalia/