Irish Art

The early history of Irish art is generally considered to begin with early carvings found at sites such as Newgrange and is traced through Bronze Age artefacts, particularly ornamental gold objects, and the religious carvings and illuminated manuscripts of the medieval period. During the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, a strong indigenous tradition of painting emerged, including such figures as John Butler Yeats, William Orpen and Jack Yeats.

Ireland's best known living artists include Brian O'Doherty an art historian, sculptor, and conceptual artist who is based in New York City, Sean Scully an abstract painter who lives and works in New York, Dorothy Cross, a sculptor and filmmaker and James Coleman, an installation and video artist.

Interest in collecting Irish art has expanded rapidly with the economic expansion of the country, primarily focussing on investment in early twentieth century painters. Support for young Irish artists is still relatively minor compared to their European counterparts, as the Arts Council's focus has been on improving infrastructure and professionalism in venues. That said, Ireland's unique tax break for creative artists (writers, visual artists and composers) has encouraged a wide community of artists to remain in Ireland.

Read more about Irish Art:  Towards An Irish Art

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