Born in Dublin in 1916, Louis le Brocquy was a towering figure in the history of Irish painting. According to a recent editorial in The Irish Times: ‘This self-taught artist has come to be recognised both at home and internationally as the foremost Irish painter of the 20th century.’ His work has received much international attention and many accolades in a career that spans seventy years of creative practice. According to John Russell, ‘When Louis le Brocquy first came to be known as a painter, some (fifty) years ago, it was not as the civilised head-hunter that he has lately become. It was as a story-teller, a symbolist, and a thoughtful enquirer into the conditions of life.’
Widely acclaimed for his evocative heads of literary figures and fellow artists, including W.B. Yeats, James Joyce and his friends Samuel Beckett, Francis Bacon, Seamus Heaney and Bono, in recent years le Brocquy’s early Tinker subjects and Family paintings, have attracted headline attention in the international art arena marking him as the fourth painter in Ireland and Britain to be evaluated within a very select group of artists, alongside Lucian Freud, David Hockney and Francis Bacon.
Damien Hirst first came to public attention in London in 1988 when he conceived and curated “Freeze,” an exhibition in a disused warehouse that showed his work and that of his friends and fellow students at Goldsmiths College. In the nearly quarter of a century since that pivotal show (which would come to define the Young British Artists), Hirst has become one of the most influential artists of his generation. Hirst’s best known works are his paintings and glass tank installations. His ground-breaking works include: Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, a tiger shark in formaldehyde and For the Love of God (2007), a human skull studded with 8,601 diamonds. In addition to his installations and sculptures, Hirst’s Spot paintings and Butterfly paintings have become universally recognised.
Damien Hirst’s current and most ambitious project to date, ‘Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’ has been almost ten years in the making. Exceptional in scale and scope, the exhibition tells the story of the ancient wreck of a vast ship, the ‘Unbelievable’, and presents what was discovered of its precious cargo: the impressive collection of Aulus Calidius Amotan which was destined for a temple dedicated to the sun. It is housed in the Palazzo Grassi in Venice and runs until early December 2017.
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