St. Patrick’s Day artworks are related to this cultural and religious celebration honoring Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland. This holiday does not have only religious connotations. It has become a popular holiday, widely celebrated across the world. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Ireland, but it is widely celebrated by Irish diaspora across the world, especially in Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. Celebrations include big parades, while green color is recognizable sign of this holiday. It is not only celebrated by the Irish. The holiday has become quite popular among other nations as well, and it is celebrated in vast number of countries. These festivals have become celebrations of Ireland’s culture in general; therefore many St. Patrick’s Day events include concerts with music, art festivals honoring Irish culture, and other. During the St. Patrick’s Day, many famous buildings across the globe are decorated with green illumination, while the streets of many cities are being crowded by thousands of people.
Honoring St. Patrick’s Day, we are presenting ten artworks linked with the Ireland’s most important holiday.
By honoring St. Patrick’s Day, one also celebrates Ireland itself, its rich culture, beautiful landscapes, Celtic symbols and traditions. By celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, we also celebrate the beautiful art inspired by the rich culture of Ireland.
Before taking a look to our 10 artworks for blissful St. Patrick’s Day, be sure you have already checked out our Top 10 articles honoring the International Women’s Day (top female sculptors, collectors and photographers).
Ní leor teanga amháin (One Language is Never Enough)
Joseph Kosuth is an American conceptual artist, who belongs to a broadly international generation of conceptual artists that began to emerge in the mid-1960s. Kosuth gives special prominence to language, and frequently references Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language and Freud’s psycho-analysis. Along with Lawrence Weiner, On Kawara, Hanne Darboven and others, Kosuth gives special prominence to speech and language, and he largely influenced the development of conceptual art in the last few decades. Speaking about language and St. Patrick’s Day , we should recall all the efforts put in order to revive the old Irish (Gaeilge) language. This language, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people, had a dramatic decrease in the number of speakers. However, in the last couple of decades, and thanks to the promotion of the Gaeilge in educational system, there has been a significant increase in the number of urban Irish speakers, particularly in Dublin. The Five Words in Green Neon is Kosuth’s work from 1965, and it was also done in red, yellow, and even multi-colors.
Featured Image: Joseph Kosuth – Five Words in Green Neon (courtesy of blogs.artinfo.com)
Pubs and Colorful Houses
During the period when Ireland was a constituent part of the United Kingdom, the architecture was under great influence of classic British architecture. However, some typical traits of old Irish houses didn’t vanish, which is quite visible in smaller towns and villages across the island. Val Byrne is an Irish artist, born in Dublin, in 1936. He studied Art and Architecture at University College Dubin (UCD) where he graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. In the late 1980s Val retired from his architecture practice and returned full time to painting. Because of his architectural background Val has a particular interest in the urban landscape of Ireland. Most of Byrne’s contemporary paintings record Irish scenes of the 20th and 21st century with an emphasis on harbours and boats and a mixture of domestic and residential buildings.
Featured Image: Val Byrne – No Parking in Ardgroom (courtesy of irishartpaintings.com)
Ireland is well-known for its beautiful landscapes. Famous green fields and huge cliffs on the shores of the Atlantic are probably the most recognized images of Ireland’s geography. Ireland can also be proud for its River Shannon, the longest river in both Ireland or Great Britain. The beautiful island’s landscape was quite inspiring for many artists. One of them is Brian Smyth, an artist born in 1967. Although Smyth specialized in painting at college, he also studied other various art subjects including multi-media, print, video and photography. Brian Smyth paintings capture the very essence of his subjects. He is equally successful in treatment of portraits, crowd scenes or café society. Smyth is a master in creating a sense of time and place in his paintings and leaves the viewer with an enduring image on which to contemplate.
Featured Image: Brian Smyth – Winter Sunset (courtesy of irishartpaintings.com)
Green Three-Leaved Shamrock
On St Patrick’s Day it is customary to wear shamrocks and/or green clothing or accessories (the “wearing of the green”). St Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. As shamrocks can have different shades of green, this light installation by James Turrell similarly represents different visual perception of green. James Turrell is an American artist primarily concerned with light and space. Turrell’s medium is pure light, and he is probably most famous for his gigantic project Roden Crater, a natural cinder cone crater located outside Flagstaff, Arizona that he is turning into a massive naked-eye observatory.
Featured Image: James Turrell – Arco, Green (courtesy of blogs.artinfo.com)
Wearing of the Green
The color green has been associated with Ireland since at least the 1640s, when the green harp flag was used by the Irish Catholic Confederation. Green ribbons and shamrocks have been worn on St Patrick’s Day since at least the 1680s. Wearing of the Green term comes from a song of the same name, which laments United Irishmen supporters being persecuted for wearing green. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the color green and its association became traditional color of St Patrick’s Day.
Dan Flavin was an American minimalist artist famous for creating sculptural objects and installations from commercially available fluorescent light fixtures. In 1961, Flavin began to incorporate electric lighting into his sculptures, and, by 1963, he worked exclusively with commercially available fluorescent tubes. Dan Flavin denied that his sculptural light installations had any kind of transcendent, symbolic, or sublime dimension. He claimed that his works are simply fluorescent light responding to a specific architectural setting. A prominent collection of his work is preserved at the Dia Art Foundation in upstate New York.
Featured Image: Dan Flavin – Greens crossing greens (to Piet Mondrian who lacked green), 1966 (courtesy of blogs.artinfo.com)
It is estimated that between 45% and 85% of Ireland’s population emigrated in the mid of 19th century. The destinations were Britain, the United States, Canada, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. The size of the diaspora is demonstrated by the number of people around the world who claim Irish ancestry; some sources put the figure at 80-100 million. The Irish traveled across the ocean for a better life, and they enriched the countries where they emigrated with their customs and traditions, including the St. Patrick’s Day.
Padraig McCaul was born in Dublin in 1963. He is a a self-taught artist who works primarily in oils, using brushes and palette knives in strong, sweeping lines. McCaul’s composition and form combine with vibrant, primary colours and all come together in capturing a vision of the Irish landscape. Like many other Irish artists, Padrag McCaul has been held spellbound by the beauty of the west of Ireland. He believes there is a special energy deeply rooted in the landscape of the west, which he captures in his contemporary paintings.
Featured Image: Padraig McCaul – On Keel Beach (detail) [courtesy of irishartpaintings.com]
Green Light Corridors
St. Patrick’s Day is widely celebrated across the United States. Celebrations include prominent displays of the color green, eating and drinking, religious observances, and numerous parades. One of the biggest parades are being held in Chicago. The city has many different Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations, the most famous being the dyeing of the Chicago River.
Bruce Nauman is a contemporary American artist, whose practice spans a broad range of media including sculpture, photography, neon, video, drawing, printmaking, and performance. Much of his work is characterized by an interest in language, often manifesting itself in a playful, mischievous manner. He is fascinated by the nature of communication and language’s inherent problems, as well as the role of the artist as supposed communicator and manipulator of visual symbols. Since the mid-1980s, primarily working with sculpture and video, Nauman has developed disturbing psychological and physical themes incorporating images of animal and human body parts.
Featured Image: Bruce Nauman – Green Light Corridor, 1970 (courtesy of blogs.artinfo.com)
St. Patrick’s celebrations are unimaginable without famous traditional Irish music. During the parades, musicians are playing cheerful Irish songs, using accordions, flutes and fiddle. This music makes you feel like you were sitting in a noisy environment of some traditional old-style pub in Ireland.
Bryan Kelly is an Irish artist born in Ennis. He spent many years working in the textile industry in a very labor intensive way, and he describes his move to a career in art as adopting a life where he has found a freedom of expression and a way to work that is, in many ways, the opposite to how he worked before. Influences on Brian Kelly’s art work include: Van Gogh, Pissarro, Monet and the Naive artists Rousseau and Ma Moses. He describes his paintings as simple and uncomplicated, appealing more to the heart than the head.
Featured Image: Bryan Kelly – The Little Barge (detail) [courtesy of irishartpaintings.com]
Turbulent History of Ireland
Ireland’s history is full of turbulent and dramatic events. The long battle for independence from the British rule is probably the most known part of rich Irish history. The Ireland’s history is marked by some catastrophic events, such as The Great Famine (an Gorta Mór), which was a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1852. Today, Ireland ranks among the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita.
Jenny Holzer is an American conceptual artist. She is best known for her use of the light-emitting diode (LED) screen, and her widely recognized Truisms series. She utilized the homogeneous rhetoric of modern information systems in order to address the politics of discourse. Holzer belongs to the feminist branch of a generation of artists that emerged around 1980, looking for new ways to make narrative or commentary an implicit part of visual objects.
Featured Image: Jenny Holzer – Truisms, 1983 (courtesy of blogs.artinfo.com)
Blissful St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick’s Day is a also a day when we celebrate the contributions of the rich culture of Ireland. Today, this holiday is being celebrated among non-Irish people as well. Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, many would be happy to visit this beautiful country, with its amazing cities, towns and countryside.
Colin Carruthers is an Irish artist born in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Colin Carruthers produces landscape and seascape paintings, often in the form of diptychs, triptychs and polyptychs which are intended to convey the ever-changing aspects of nature. One of the features of Colin Carruthers art work lies in the fact that he does not use any obvious references. Geographical landmarks, people and the signs of society are all stripped away from view in order to create a space which can be more enticing, raw or subjective.
Featured Image: Colin Carruthers – Winter, Quai des Grands-Augustin II (courtesy of irishartpaintings.com)