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"Masquerade and Spectacle" - Jack B. Yeats Thematic Exhibition

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The Bottom Line

Jack B. Yeats, one of Ireland's most prominent painters (and brother of poet William Butler Yeats), has always been highlighted by the National Gallery of the Ireland, but the current exhibition "Masquerade and Spectacle" will certainly draw some less regular visitors. After all, the circus and the funfair are always popular. But the different styles of painting on display will provide a surprise to those drawn in by the colorful "Double Horse Act" on the promotional material. The exhibition is certainly challenging and interesting - but hard to find, Room 13 hides away in the physical center of the gallery.


  • Thematic collection of paintings by Jack B. Yeats makes for a good introduction to the painter.
  • Different styles of painting on display explore development of Yeats' art.
  • Excellent presentation.


  • Finding the room can be complicated.


  • The National Gallery of Ireland showcases a variety of Irish and international art, from the middle ages to modern times.
  • Jack B. Yeats is regarded as one of Ireland's foremost painters, though internationally in the shadow of his poet brother.
  • "Masquerade and Spectacle" brings together a variety of painting styles and is a good introduction to Yeats' work.

Guide Review - "Masquerade and Spectacle" - Jack B. Yeats Thematic Exhibition

The Jack B. Yeats thematic exhibition "Masquerade and Spectacle" deals with those old favorites, the circus and travelling shows. A colorful and diverse theme. As colorful and diverse as the paintings on display.

But before appreciating the paintings themselves you will more than likely be stunned by the spectacular lighting - the room is darkened and spotlights pick out the individual paintings, creating an effect not unlike stained glass in cathedrals. This is especially obvious before your eyes have adjusted ... and well worth seeking Room 13 alone for!

The paintings are in a variety of styles, from the realistic to the more impressionist and abstract. So there should be food for thought for every art lover and even casual visitors.

My personal highlights of the "Masquerade and Spectacle" exhibition were

  • Crystal Palace (1903)
    - a Red Indian on horseback, actually an actor with a hobby-horse on rollerskates,
  • The Barrel Man (1912)
    - a man making a living out of ducking projectiles flung at him, triumphant and defiant ... and not to forget
  • An Occupation (1910)
    - a rather nosey bear waiting for his bucket of meat arriving courtesy of a circus laborer.

The exhibition runs until November 11th, 2007.

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