Cork has a long tradition in the visual arts. The two most famous Cork painters are James Barry (1741-1806) and Daniel MacLise (1806-1870). Other well-known Cork artists during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were John Butts, Nathaniel Grogan, John Corbett, and James McDaniel. In sculpture, John Hogan (1800-1858) was outstanding. The nobility and the merchant princes of the city and county were patrons of these painters and sculptors.
The foundation of the Cork Institution (later renamed the Royal Cork Institution) in 1803 helped the development of the visual arts in the city. From 1830, the Royal Cork Institution was housed in the old Custom House in Nelson Place (now Emmet Place). The old Custom House was extended in 1884 and became the Crawford Municipal School of Art, which included an art gallery. The School of Art moved to Sharman Crawford Street in 1979 and the building on Emmet Place became the Crawford Art Gallery. The gallery was extended again in 2000. A new wing was added to exhibit contemporary art. The gallery and school have been hugely important in the development of the visual arts in Cork.
Cork 2005 gave a great boost to the visual arts in Cork. The opening of new galleries, especially the Lewis Glucksman Gallery in the grounds of University College, Cork, has also encouraged an interest in the visual arts. Hardly a week goes by without an exhibition somewhere in the city. If you’re interested in painting, sculpture, or any other graphic art, you’ll find a wonderful selection of books in Cork City Libraries. We have histories of art, biographies of famous painters, studies on particular styles of art, and books on how to paint. We could say that we have almost everything but the paint and brushes themselves! If you want to feast your eyes on reproductions of some of the most beautiful works of art in the world, do call in and browse.
Most of our art books are in the Reference department in the Central Library but there are fine collections in the Central Lending department and in our Local Libraries as well. We look forward to seeing you.
Cork City Libraries holds a wide selection of books on art and artists. Our Reference department holds most of the items on art, dealing with artistic works from Ireland and abroad. As well as items on painting and drawing, we have books on architecture, sculpture, design, fashion, and related fields. As well as books, we hold journals and newspaper clippings dealing with art and artists.