Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks: 1969 – The Táin, by Thomas Kinsella and Louis le Brocquy

Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks: 1969 – The Táin, by Thomas Kinsella and Louis le Brocquy

The poet and the artist collaborated to produce a blunt, muscular reimagining of the Ulster legend of the Cooley cattle raid 

One of the odder effects of the explosion of youth culture in the 1960s and early 1970s was what might be called a second Celtic Revival in Ireland. In the search for an alternative, anti-establishment aesthetic, the notion of a pre-Christian “Celtic” world promised a kind of authenticity that dovetailed with the international counterculture. It manifested itself in everything from jewellery to the graphic art of Jim Fitzpatrick (see 1968) to the invention of “Celtic rock”. 

This interest in turn gave an unexpectedly contemporary energy to one of the most prestigious high-art projects of the era: the collaboration between the poet Thomas Kinsella and the painter Louis le Brocquy (see 1951) on a translation of the old Irish epic Táin Bó Cúailnge (The Cattle Raid of Cooley).

The Táin is the centrepiece of the Ulster Cycle of legends, describing the mythic conflict that erupts when Queen Medb of Connacht invades Ulster to capture its most prized treasure, a great brown bull. Ulster is defended by its youthful champion, Cúchulainn.
Read the entire article at The Irish Times.

 

 

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