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Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Stargazer

The Stargazer

Jack B. Yeats (1871 – 1957)

© Estate of Jack B Yeats. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2013

  • Artist
    Jack B. Yeats
  • Title
    The Stargazer
  • Date
    1900
  • Dimensions
    46 × 30.5cm
  • Medium
    Watercolour
  • Collection
    Niland Collection
  • Provenance
    Bought by Sligo County Library and Museum from the Capuchin Annual in 1962.
Description

Yeats transforms an image of a jockey on horseback into a poignant and poetic idea in this early watercolour. The cut-off composition emphasises the strength of the horse whose powerful head and neck is raised up as he moves along. The jockey, who keeps a firm grip on the reins, is presented as a shadowy but skilful figure. The left-hand side of the composition is devoted to an open view of the landscape. Knocknarea can be seen in the distance beyond the purple of the roadway and the evening lights of the cottages.

The title, Stargazer, refers to the way in which the horse and man are concerned with the evening sky rather than the road ahead. Their connection to their surroundings is therefore far from mundane. Yeats introduces a mystical element in which the rider’s interest in the celestial sphere transcends ordinary experience. The painting was shown in one of Yeats’s earliest Sketches from Life in the West of Ireland exhibitions in Dublin in 1900. Its composition was misread by at least one reviewer who felt the country racer carried the head abnormally high (1). But the painting’s ability to inject metaphysical ideas into depictions of rural Irish life was of enormous significance to Irish visual art of this period.

(1) The Nation, 1900, undated cutting, Yeats Archive, National Gallery of Ireland.

Written by Roisin Kennedy

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  1. Jack B. Yeats - Crest of the Hill
  2. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Political Meeting (in the West Of Ireland)
  3. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - Country Scene
  4. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of John O’Leary
  5. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979)- Port Rachrainn
  6. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-A Western Town, Night
  7. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Sunday Morning in Sligo
  8. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Cartoon for Figure of Christ
  9. Nick Miller - Portrait of Barrie Cooke
  10. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Portrait Figure of an Irish Gentleman
  11. Jack B. Yeats - White Shower
  12. Constance Gore-Booth (1868-1927) - Untitled
  13. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- An Island Funeral
  14. Rita Duffy (b.1959) - Belfast Pieta
  15. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Self Portrait
  16. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - William and Mary
  17. Norah McGuinness - Les Bigoudenes
  18. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Communicating with Prisoners
  19. Estella Solomons - Portrait of a Woman
  20. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Shining Shallows
  21. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Douglas Hyde
  22. Constance Gore-Booth (1868 - 1927) - Untitled (Holloway Jail)
  23. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Jack B. Yeats
  24. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Kitsy Franklin