Michael Cullen | ‘Study After Jan Van Eyck II’ (25/30) | 1981 | Screenprint | 40 x 35 cm
Artists have always drawn their influences from many different sources including history, politics, climate change and the land. Over on our Instagram account we’ve been focusing on artworks from the Arts Council Collection that reference other artists or works, of art from Renaissance paintings to the French Revolution.
Here, Michael Cullen, whose work is showcased under the ‘Artists Reflecting Artists’ theme, tells us more about the featured artwork and what it means to have his artwork as part of the Arts Council collection. Explore this and more from the Arts Council collection at instagram.com/artscouncilireland/
The Arnolfini Marriage Portrait II (1981) was the result of a collaboration, initiated by the artist Joseph Hanly. The artist invited a number of artists (Michael Kane, Brian Maguire, Eithne Jordan, Patrick Hall, among others) to participate in the making of a silkscreen print.
Invited artists provided their artwork, he made the colour separations etc, and produced in each case an edition of thirty.
In 1981, prior to the above, I had painted a study of the Marriage Portrait (in oil on twill, on a scale similar to the original). A reproduction of this painting had hung in the kitchen at home when I was a kid. On visits to the National Gallery, London, I viewed it many times. Over time it had come to represent for me an idea of the essence of image making, with its mise-en-scène elements.
In 1988 I turned my attention to painting a study of Velázquez’s Las Meninas (3x4 metres, oil on canvas, gifted to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre) which in many ways paraphrases the Arnolfini Portrait: The mirrors, the dogs and Velázquez’s self-portrait, stating along with van Eyck - I Was Here!
It passed into the Spanish royal collection at some point in the sixteenth century and was part of the collection until Napoleonic times.
Velázquez as curator of the royal collection would have been familiar with the Arnolfini Portrait.
Over the centuries these two paintings have fascinated viewers because of their repository of hidden riddles — a truly visual puzzle.
— Michael Cullen
Since 1962, the Arts Council has been buying art from working artists. The Collection that evolved tells the story of modern and contemporary Irish visual art in a unique and fascinating way. Today the Collection continues to grow and its more than 1,100 paintings, sculptures and other works are on display in public spaces all over Ireland for people to experience and enjoy first hand. You can find out more at: www.artscouncil.emuseum.com