James Hanley (b.1965)
Portrait of Ronnie Delany (b.1935), Sportsman, 2000
Oil on linen, 206 x 155 cm
Commissioned as part of Irish Life & Permanent Portrait Series,2000
Ronnie Delany was the youngest and only the seventh man in history to run a mile in under four minutes before winning gold for Ireland at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. He set three consecutive world records for the indoor mile and won forty consecutive indoor races between 1955 and 1959. The artist depicts the former sportsman as a person who has lost little of his physical strength. References to his sporting life provide biographical details for the viewer. The painting is notable for its vibrant colours, its convincing likeness of Delany and for the quality of the trompe l’œil background details. James Hanley completed a BA in English and History of Art at UCD after which he studied fine art at NCAD.
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