Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin - Notes on work

Pearse, Connolly, Larkin Triptych (2005)

Pearse, Connolly, Larkin Triptych

If Magritte made it clear that all art consisted of symbols of people and objects and not the real world itself then we must look at all art as chosen and created by artists for specific aesthetic, social or political reasons, though they may not do this consciously.

René Magritte The Treachery Of Images
[The Treachery Of Images (La trahison des images), which shows a pipe that looks as though it is a model for a tobacco store advertisement. Magritte painted below the pipe, This is not a pipe (Ceci n'est pas une pipe), which seems a contradiction, but is actually true: the painting is not a pipe, it is an image of a pipe. (]

The philosophical basis of such art may be taken to be generally rooted in ideas of  'common sense', 'human nature' or 'tradition (religious or cultural)' and based on philosophical idealism. Yet art as symbol only needs minor changes to convey an entirely different social, political and philosophical meaning. For example, in the Pearse, Connolly, Larkin Triptych the forms of religious art are examined and then given a new meaning in an opposing philosophy.

Triptych, open panels, approx. 1485, Art History Museum, Vienna

[A triptych (from the Greek tri- "three" + ptychē "fold") is a work of art (usually a panel painting) which is divided into three sections, or three carved panels which are hinged together. The central panel is the most important one, and this is flanked on either side by two lesser but related paintings. The whole is intended to be greater than the sum of the parts. The triptych form arises from early Christian art, and was the standard format for altar paintings from the Middle Ages onwards. (]

While Christianity is rooted in philosophical idealism, Nationalist and Socialist ideology is rooted in philosophical materialism. The form of the triptych and the icon spread the ideas of the church visually. The symbols of the church consisted of Jesus, Mary, the saints, bibles, staffs, doves, church buildings and texts.

Russian Icon

[An icon (from Greek εἰκών, eikon, "image") is an image, picture, or representation; it is a sign or likeness that stands for an object by signifying or representing it. In Eastern Orthodoxy and other icon-painting Christian traditions, the icon is generally a flat panel painting depicting a holy being or object such as Jesus, Mary, saints, angels, or the cross. Though their development was gradual, we can date the full-blown appearance and general ecclesiastical (as opposed to simply popular or local) acceptance of Christian images as venerated and miracle-working objects to the 6th century. (]

The Pearse, Connolly, Larkin Triptych contains many of those forms - three 'saints' (Pearse, Connolly, Larkin), buildings (The GPO, Liberty Hall, St Enda's), a book (Connolly's writings), text (Pearse's school motto), 'three wise men' workers holding baskets of bread fruit and vegetables and 'disciples' (some of the boys of the Celtic plays at St Enda's became the soldiers of the GPO). James Connolly directs the Rising but is executed while seated in a chair because of his wounds. The determination to be rid of Connolly was due as much to his leadership role as to the importance of his 'biblical' texts as a materialist messiah. Pearse, the cultural nationalist, and Larkin, the trades' union organiser, form the other two parts of this revolutionary 'trinity' showing that the compositional forms of the religious painting or icon can be just as effective in the portrayal of an oppositional ideology, displaying the indeterminable nature of art.

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