Men of Destiny


Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)
Men of Destiny, 1946

Oil on canvas, 51 x 69 cm
Presented, Jack B. Yeats National Loan Exhibition Committee, 1945
NGI.1134

Men of Destiny was painted in 1946, thirty years after the 1916 Rising, a year after the end of the Second World War, and just two before the formal establishment of the Irish Republic.  With this richly-coloured and nostalgic depiction of Sligo fisherman – fastening their boats – Yeats remembers men who had left their daily employment, at various times, to fight for freedom. Yeats has been typically economical in his description of the figures, and the masted boat in the background.

The painting is alive with exuberant colour, including royal blue, indigo, and various greens and heightened with vermillion, lemon yellow and white. The colours of the sky are echoed in the foam of the dark sea and amongst the more vibrant colours of the headland.

View a selection of paintings from the Yeats Collection