Mindfulness and Art: Sackville Street, Dublin

Watercolour of Sackville Street in Dublin
Michael Angelo Hayes (1820-1877), Sackville Street, Dublin, c.1853. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.Credit

Take 5 minutes

Spend 5 minutes sitting in silence, looking at this watercolour.

Some things to reflect on while looking in silence:

  • How do you feel while looking at the watercolour?
  • What do you notice? What is your eye drawn to?
    • The artist's lines and marks
    • The composition
    • The light
    • The shadows
    • The colours
    • The forms and shapes
    • The subject
  • What is the mood and atmosphere?
  • Why do you think the artist created the watercolour?
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About the watercolour

Michael Angelo Hayes (1820–1877), Sackville Street, Dublin, c.1853

Michael Angelo Hayes was born in Waterford and trained with his father, Edward Hayes (1797–​​​​​​​1864). His principal interests were equine and military subjects. This view of Dublin's main thoroughfare, now known as O'Connell Street, offers a glimpse of how the city looked in the 1850s. The street abounds with activity, as people bustle amidst carts, carriages and omnibuses. Dominating the scene is the 40-metres-high landmark, 'Nelson's Pillar', erected in 1808. The pillar, made of Portland stone and topped with a statue of Admiral Nelson, was partially destroyed by a bomb in 1966, and demolished two days later by army engineers. In its place, the stainless steel Spire of Dublin (120 metres) stands as a symbol of hope and progress.

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