Neo-Classical 18th - 19th Centuries

As a direct result of the Grand Tour, the second half of the 18th century saw the increasing influence of classical antiquity on artistic style. Painters developed a renewed interest in the works of the Great Renaissance Masters and their appreciation of harmony, simplicity and proportion.  Irish painters therefore started to travel to Europe in order to learn how to paint. Schools of painting werealso set up in Ireland, employing European tutors.


The Dublin Society Schools

Established in the 1740s, these schools trained painters, sculptors, silversmiths, furniture makers, stuccodores and glass makers.

Key figures associated with the Dublin Society art schools included:

  • Robert West (d. 1770)

      Master of figure drawing in the Dublin Society schools.

  • James Mannin (d. 1779)

      Master of design and landscape drawing.

  • Hugh Douglas Hamilton (c. 1739-1880)

      Portrait painter and miniaturist. He was one of Robert West's students.

  • George Barret (1732-84)

      Painted sublime landscapes of the Wicklow Mountains, Scotland and Wales.

  • Nathaniel Hone the Elder (1718-84)

      Portrait painter and miniaturist. He excelled in the painting of children’s portraits.

  • James Barry (1741-1806)

      A truly neo-classical painter, Barry chose narrative painting as his genre. He      
      painted mythological and historical stories. 


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