Discover a rich collection of pastels at the Gallery

Pastel drawing of two dancers
Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Two Ballet Dancers in a Dressing Room, c.1880. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.Credit

Pastel Revealed highlights portraiture, landscape and subject pictures, spanning four centuries.

On 25 February 2023, a brand new exhibition Pastel Revealed opens at the National Gallery of Ireland. Situated in the Print Gallery, this show provides an opportunity for visitors to explore an exquisite selection of the Gallery’s pastel collection. A display dedicated to the medium of pastel has not taken place in the Gallery for almost 30 years.  

Pastel Revealed features over 50 works of varying size, from tiny ovals to full-length portraits. This unmissable exhibition explores the medium of pastel and how it has evolved significantly over time. Originally used by artists as a less expensive alternative to painting in oil, pastel has been utilised, and indeed re- energised over the course of the 20th century.

This unique exhibition includes works by renowned artists from both Ireland and abroad including: Edmund Ashfield, Brian Bourke, Rosalba Carriera, Edgar Degas, Thomas Frye, Hugh Douglas Hamilton, Harry Kernoff, Maurice Marinot and Jean-Francois Millet.

Niamh MacNally, Curator of the Prints & Drawings Study Room said: ‘This exhibition provides a rare opportunity to view almost half of the Gallery’s rich collection of pastels. The artworks on show highlight the diverse ways in which the medium has been used by artists over the centuries. In addition, a number of artworks have been specially conserved for this exhibition, while others are being displayed at the Gallery for the very first time.’

Adrian Le Harivel, Curator of British Art at the National Gallery of Ireland said: ‘We expect visitors to be struck by the beauty of the works and brilliance of the colours that can last for centuries if properly cared for.’

Pastel Revealed will run until 5 June 2023. Admission is free.

Supported by the Friends of the National Gallery of Ireland