There are many everyday concerns amongst many everyday people which seem to take precedence over the loss of artistic treasures. After all, we can always see these paintings in books or online. But you can’t appreciate them in their entirety without all of your senses, olfactory included. Not to mention the fact that, as Mr. Henderson noted, these works are meant to belong to everyone; his work with Deis schoolchildren is particularly inspiring to me, for this reason. He noted, quite humbly, the pleasure he took in watching these children’s eyes “light up” when he educated them on various works of art. That reminded me of a conversation I had with my father (also an educator) shortly before he died. He was a man of many virtues and many vices. I asked him if he was worried if he would go to hell when he died. He emphatically stated that he was not, and when I asked him why he thought so, he said “I taught children to read.” He also told me that Heaven, if it existed, was being left alone with your own thoughts forever, and that Hell, if it existed, was the same thing. I don’t know if there’s a heaven, but I do know there is hell on earth, and while losing one’s cultural heritage is not exactly the worst thing that can happen to you, it’s not a very good start. It quite literally takes away of what people refer to as one’s “soul.”
Mr. Henderson spends his life educating adults and children in the miracles of art. And he fights for art. So read his post, sign the petition to block the sale of some of Ireland’s few art treasures; you may not secure yourself a place in heaven, but you’ll surely calm your conscience for a bit.
On the 9th of July, just one month from now at the time of writing, the London auction house Christie’s will hold a sale of important European old master paintings.
The sale includes important works that were left in trust for the Irish people to Ireland. Strangely however, unless something extraordinary now happens over the next 30 days, those pictures will go on sale. They will certainly be bought by wealthy private international collectors and leave Ireland permanently.
All we are trying to do for the time being is simply get this sale postponed, at least until the Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has time to receive and assess the report she has requested on historic properties, including lovely Russborough House.
That only seems a fair and reasonable request.
It’s often said however that there are “No votes in arts” and/or “No votes in Heritage”. Politicians, by…
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