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    Panel 3.  Goossen Van der Weyden, (1455–1543)  Dymphna and her Companions about to Emabark, ca 1505
    © The Phoebus Foundation, Antwerp

    The 2023 exhibitions programme announced today at the National Gallery of Ireland includes major new shows by Lavinia Fontana and Sir John Lavery. Lavinia Fontana Trailblazer Rule Breaker will run from May 6 to August 27. Fontana is widely considered to be the first female artist to achieve professional success beyond the confines of a court or a convent and was the first woman to manager her own workshop.

    Lavery On Location from October 7, 2023 to January 14, 2024 will focus on some of the key destinations depicted in Lavery’s art from Scotland to Palm Springs. Special features will be the works produced at Grez-sur-Loing – his ‘happiest days’ – and in Tangier. There are also studies from Switzerland, Spain, Ireland and Italy, and depictions of cities from Glasgow to London, Venice, Cannes and New York.

    In 2016, the Phoebus Foundation in Belgium undertook a large-scale restoration project focusing on an altarpiece triptych in their collection by Goossen van der Weyden (1455-1543). St Dymphna, The Tragedy of an Irish Princess from January 28 to May 28 at the National Gallery features the altarpiece, the only work of its kind to focus on the life of an Irish saint. Dymphna – a legendary 6th or 7th century Irish saint – was the daughter of a Celtic king. When Dymphna grew to resemble her mother, her widowed father decided to marry her. To escape his incestuous intentions, Dymphna fled Ireland for Geel in Belgium, with her confessor Gerebernus. Dymphna’s father pursued and killed them, and their bodies were buried on the spot by angels. The Church of St Dymphna in Geel, consecrated in 1247, still holds relics associated with the saint.

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