National Gallery of Ireland announces 2022 exhibition programme

Bronze bust of a male figure
Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966), Lotar III. © Succession Alberto Giacometti / ADAGP, Paris, 2021.

Eleven new shows include work from the sixteenth century to the present day.

Unmissable exhibitions featuring some of Europe’s most influential artists come to the National Gallery of Ireland in 2022. As well as large-scale shows focusing on Giacometti and Turner, the line-up of exhibitions includes highlights from the Rijksmuseum, an installation of new work by contemporary artist Hughie O’Donoghue, a celebration of James Joyce’s Ulysses and the return of the Zurich Portrait Prizes.

OfThe first major exhibition of the year showcases the work of the inventive French sculptor Alberto Giacometti. From his early years in Switzerland through to Paris in the 1960s, more than 50 artworks give a fascinating insight into Giacometti’s life as well as those of the family and friends who modelled for him. Giacometti: From Life – the first exhibition of the artist’s work at the National Gallery of Ireland – is co-organised with the Fondation Giacometti. Opens in the Beit Wing on 9 April 2022.

Later in the year, J.M.W. Turner: The Sun is God features a total of 90 artworks by the English artist best known in Ireland for his delicate watercolours which are display at the National Gallery of Ireland every January. This touring exhibition of works from Tate’s impressive collection explores Turner’s fascination with the forces of nature as well as the sun, moon and clouds. Opens in the Beit Wing on 8 October 2022.

The Gallery’s collection of much-loved works by the same artist will be on display for the month of January. A highlight of the cultural calendar every year, the paintings have been displayed annually to the Irish public since 1901. Next year, Turner’s light-filled watercolours will be shown alongside a group of topographical drawings by the English artist Francis Place. Turner & Place: Landscapes in Light and Detail opens in the Print Gallery on 1 January 2022.

Following a decade of careful restoration by the Gallery’s Head of Conservation, eight sixteenth-century Italian paintings depicting the Madonna and her infant child with Saint John the Baptist will be on display at Christ & His Cousin: Renaissance Rediscoveries. This free exhibition opens in the Hugh Lane Room on 29 January 2022.

For the first time in Ireland, 25 recently discovered landscape drawings by English artist Thomas Gainsborough will go on display in a free Print Gallery exhibition next Spring. Young Gainsborough: Rediscovered Landscape Drawings offers an intimate glimpse into the early career of the influential artist. In partnership with Royal Collection Trust, York Museums Trust and Nottingham Castle, the exhibition opens on 5 March 2022.

The Gallery will mark the conclusion of the Decade of Centenaries with three displays in 2022: Hughie O’Donoghue: Original SinsKeating’s Allegories of Change; and Estella Solomons: Still Moments.

Addressing memory, history and questions of identity, Hughie O’Donoghue: Original Sins is an installation of new works by one of the leading painters of his generation. This series of six large paintings features historical characters such as Irish saint Deirbhile, William the Conqueror and Michael Collins. The works will be on view in the Gallery’s iconic Shaw Room – for which they were painted – under the gaze of Daniel Maclise’s monumental The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife, which inspired them. Opens on 12 March 2022.

Keating’s Allegories of Change centres around Irish artist Seán Keating’s 1924 painting An Allegory, which addresses the divisive nature of the conflict of the Irish Civil War. A number of portraits by the artist of nationalist figures such as Erskine Childers, John Devoy and Terence MacSwiney will be on display in this free exhibition, opening in Room 16 on 20 August 2022.

Another free exhibition of works by an Irish artist, Estella Solomons: Still Moments, opens in the Hugh Lane Room in Autumn 2022. A committed nationalist and member of Cumann na mBan, Solomons’ studio in Dublin became a meeting place for writers, artists and politicians. This exhibition, marking the end of the Decade of Centenaries, features a number of portraits by Solomons of leading revolutionary and cultural figures of the time. Opens in the Hugh Lane Room on 3 September 2022.

A selection of 35 works by German artist Günter Schöllkopf inspired by James Joyce’s best-known book go on display in Celebrating Ulysses. The Stuttgart-born etcher and illustrator held a lifelong fascination with Joyce, and these drawings and etchings from the 1960s and 70s bring to life characters from the novel including Molly and Leopold Bloom, Stephen Dedalus and Buck Mulligan. Opens in the Hugh Lane Room on 21 May 2022.

In the atmospheric Print Gallery, Dutch Drawings: highlights from the Rijksmuseum offers a rare opportunity to view works by seventeenth-century Dutch artists from a world-class collection. Drawings and prints by artists such as Rembrandt and Hendrik Avercamp take centre stage in this free exhibition. Opens on 16 July 2022.

The ever-popular Zurich Portrait Prize and Zurich Young Portrait Prize return in 2022. An exhibition of shortlisted works from both competitions will be displayed in Room 23 at the end of the year. Supported by Zurich Insurance plc., the show opens on 26 November 2022.

Sean Rainbird, Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, said, “Here at the Gallery, we are committed to bringing people and art together. Next year will be incredibly exciting as we present eleven brand new exhibitions filled with art of all kinds to our Irish and international visitors. We hope that the many artworks on display in these shows will inspire and delight our valued visitors, Friends and Patrons.”

Exhibitions at the Gallery in 2022 will be complemented by an inclusive education, learning and engagement programme. Talks, workshops, online art appreciation courses and more will be available throughout the year for audiences of all ages across the globe.