The Agony and the Ecstasy

sorrowing old man by Van Gogh

Scroll down for text in English

Tharla go bhfaca mé an pictiúr seo ar an idirlíon le déanaí, pictiúr de chuid Vincent Van Gogh, agus chuaigh sé go mór i bhfeidhm orm. “Sorrowing Old Man (At Eternity’s Gate)” an teideal atá air agus dhath sé é thart ar 1890.

Bhí an pictiúr seo ag bean dárbh ainm Helene Kröller-Müller (1869-1939), bean a chuir cnuasach mór ealaíne le chéile i rith a saol. Thuig sí cé chomh tábhachtach is a bhí Van Gogh agus bhailigh sí go leor, leor dá chuid oibre. Sa deireadh bhí an dara bhailiúchán is mó ar domhain aici de phictiúir le Van Gogh agus bhronn sí an bailiúchán sin ar mhuintir na hÍsiltíre. Sa bhliain 1938, bhunaigh sí músaem ealaíne nua-aimseartha ar a dtugtar an Músaem Kröller-Müller, in Otterlo san Ísiltír.

Cheap mé go raibh sé spéisiúl céard a bhí le rá aici i leith an phictiúir thuas:

Van Gogh paints suffering. An intense sympathy for people’s suffering, that’s what is totally modern about him. He made people feel for one’s fellow humans and understand their suffering. But he does more than that: he transcends the suffering. By painting suffering in such a way, you don’t experience it as suffering any more. It doesn’t make you suffer because you know it’s an inevitability, and that insight brings peace. That revelation is what I think is greatest about Van Gogh.     Helene Kröller-Müller

at the opening of Outrageous, Obscene and Offensive, a Bloomsday 2022 exhibition at the Olivier Cornet Gallery
At the official opening of “Outrageous, Obscene and Offensive”, a Bloomsday exhibition at the Olivier Cornet Gallery. Left to right: Aisling Conroy, Claire Halpin, Kelly Ratchford, David Fox, Yanny Petters, Gallerist Olivier Cornet, Dr Brenda Moore-McCann and Nickie Hayden

Now, as you probably know, it’s Bloomsday today. Or maybe you’re like the guy above who tried so hard, so many times, to read Joyce’s Ulysses but just couldn’t get past the second chapter…

No matter. But just to let you know that there’s an interesting Bloomsday exhibition on at the moment, in the Olivier Cornet Gallery. It was officially opened last weekend with a scholarly opening speech by Dr Brenda Moore-McCann.

Have you read Ulysses yet? (Níor chríochnaigh mise é fós)



  1. A lovely post as always Eoin. I’m sad I just wasn’t able to get to any Bloomsday events but will try to get to the Gallery soon. I have read Ulysses and keep going back to it. Dubliners is my favourite though. Niamh


  2. I read Ulysses a long time ago as I rashly (as perhaps only a young person could) thought it would be a good idea to base my dissertation on it. Why didn’t I listen to Dennis (adviser/tutor?) when he pointed to the development of the English novel over the centuries. I suppose he knew I was about to cast myself into a forest that I was bound to get lost in. I do remember the monologues though and always enjoyed them. What do dissertations matter after all these years? Ha ha.


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