The History of The Irish...Worldwide
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From the IRELAND'S GREAT HUNGER MUSEUM | MÚSAEM AN GHORTA MHÓIR | 3011 Whitney Avenue, Hamden, CT | 203-582-6500 | Quinnipiac University
Lilian Lucy Davidson
Gorta1946Previously known as Burying the Child
Oil on canvas27.5 x 35.5 in
Gorta is unusual for Irish painting of the time. It has echoes of the European tradition—Zola, Rilke, Dostoyevsky, and especially Picasso in his blue period—of artists who engaged with the dark side of the world in those apocalyptic years just before and after World War I. The restricted palette intensifies the emotion. The color blue has a long tradition in Christian symbolic iconography, and is also associated with mourning; it is applied here to heighten the sense of tragedy, but without religious or heroic overtones. These are the poorest of the poor, suffering an annihilating grief. Ireland may be in the post-Famine period but, Davidson is reminding us, hope did not grow out of loss. All narrative is eliminated, there is no identifiable time or place, and yet the subject matter is indisputable. They have come from nothing, and now alienated and traumatized, they look past one another into nothingness.
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