Colin Davidson (b.1968)
Portrait of Michael Longley (b.1939), Poet, Editor and Anthologist, 2011-12
© Colin Davidson
Oil on linen, 127 x 117 cm
Michael Longley is among Ireland’s most distinguished and distinctive literary figures, who commands an international reputation. He read classics at Trinity College Dublin, and afterwards taught in Dublin, London and Belfast, before joining the Arts Council of Northern Ireland where he worked for over twenty years. He has published more than a dozen collections of poetry, and has won various prestigious awards, among them, the Whitbread Poetry Prize, the TS Elliot Prize and the Irish Times Literature Prize for Poetry. He was appointed CBE in the Queen’s birthday Honours list in 2010 and the following year had the Degree of Doctor of Literature, honoris causa, conferred upon him by University College Dublin.
Colin Davidson was born in Belfast. He has won several awards, including The Ireland – US Council and Irish Arts Review Portraiture Award in 2010, the Keating/McLoughlin Medal (ESB) at the RHA in 2009, and gold and silver medals at the Royal Ulster Academy. He has also held solo exhibitions in Dublin, Belfast and New York, has contributed to many group shows, and is represented in private and public collections throughout Ireland and the UK.
Davidson has for several years been regarded as an outstanding practitioner. This work is one of a series of oversized portrait busts by the artist of private and public figures, executed with vigour but also a sensitivity that belies the picture’s monumental scale. Davidson’s portrait of the sitter is a fitting addition to the National Portrait Collection, which has been expanded in recent years through the acquisition of several portraits of prominent figures from Irish life.