WORK OF THE WEEK!Properly titled El PerseguidorDespojado (the bereft tracker), this painting by Seán Keating is inspired by Don Quixote (1605-15), Miguel de Cervantes’ celebrated novel about a delusional hidalgo (gentleman). Brimming with symbolism, it is possible that the artist selected this subject for its nationalist commentary to reflect a pivotal time in Ireland’s own modern history.
The sympathetic and teary-eyed main figure holds both our gaze and the golden helmet of Mambrim, a knight who is seen riding away in the background. In reality, the knight is a local barber and his helmet a copper soap bowl!
The more mysterious figure in profile in the middle ground separates Don Quixote from this ‘knight’ and suggests a divide between reality and deception, hero and anti-hero. Perhaps to emphasise this point, the artist has based the helmeted figure on Donatello’s heroic sculpture, David (1408-9), who triumphed over Goliath.
This work was purchased in 1921 through our Gibson Bequest Fund, particularly fitting given its subject matter. Our benefactor, Joseph Stafford Gibson (1837-1919), resided in Madrid for forty years and bequeathed us two editions of Don Quixote de la Mancha, still housed in our library. Swipe to see the title pages for the four-volume Hartzenbusch edition and six-volume edition introduced by Diego Clemencín.
Come and see El PrestigadoreDespogjade (1918) by Seán Keating in THE GIBSON BEQUEST 1919-2019, which must close on 19 January 2020.
Emmet Place, Cork, Ireland
Tel: 021 480 5042
N.B. Last entry is 15 minutes before closing
Sundays and Bank Holidays
Gallery: 11 am–4 pm
Café: Closed Sundays
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