Keating's Allegories of Change

In the grounds of a burnt-out country house, a group of characters cluster around a tree trunk. On the left, a clergyman talks to a finely dressed businessman who turns his back to the figures behind him. Immediately beside them, a young mother (Mother Ireland) sits upright, nursing her baby. Next to them, a dishevelled, bearded man slumps comatose against the base of the tree. In the middle ground a uniformed soldier of the Free State Army and a member of the anti-Treaty forces, facing in opposite directio
Seán Keating (1889-1977), An Allegory, 1924.
© Estate of Seán Keating, IVARO Dublin, 2021/ Photo © National Gallery of Ireland

20 August – 27 November 2022
Lower Milltown Room 16 | Admission free

Painted in 1924, An Allegory by Seán Keating addresses the divisive nature of the conflict of the Irish Civil War. The painting is central to a new, free display at the National Gallery of Ireland marking the conclusion of the Decade of Centenaries. Keating’s Allegories of Change highlights the artist’s role as political commentator and chronicler of one of the most turbulent periods in Irish history. A number of portraits by Keating of nationalist figures such as Erskine Childers, John Devoy and Terence MacSwiney are on display in this exhibition, alongside William Orpen’s The Holy Well.

Curator: Dr Brendan Rooney


This exhibition is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries Programme 2012-2023.

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