Crawford Art GallerySubscribe


Daniel Maclise 
(1806 - 1870) 
Francois I and Diane de Poitiers
(Detail) 
oil on canvas, 
133 x 160 cm
Collection CAG
Daniel Maclise
(1806 - 1870)
Francois I and Diane de Poitiers
(Detail)
oil on canvas,
133 x 160 cm
Collection CAG
Heroes and Villains
Until 14 April 2019
Gibson Galleries and The Long Room

“Give me the good old days of heroes and villains. The people you can bravo or hiss.”
– Bette Davis, The Lonely Life (1962)

At a time when we are unsure of who or what to trust, it can perhaps be tempting to return to the certainties of the past, the archetypal heroes and villains of our children’s stories and the simplicity of hindsight.

HEROES & VILLAINS, a selection of works from the collection, explores the archetypes of good and bad characters, and the middle ground between them. While some heroes and villains are easily identifiable through certain recognisable traits, it is often the case that these categories are not so self-contained. Depending on the contexts of time and place, someone who is once celebrated as a hero may be transformed into a villain, or vice versa. Indeed, these shifting contexts can act as formative influences, with artists and writers alike recognising the power of settings and scenarios on the decisions we make.

From fallen heroes and reformed villains to accidental heroes, heroes of the moment, and villains for all time, this exhibition showcases a wide variety of real or imagined figures and the many ways that artists have celebrated or presented the shades of good or bad in all of us.

Curated by Anne Boddaert and Michael Waldron