25 June 2018

An invitation to speak
about El Greco at
Askeaton arts festival

A monument to El Greco in El Greco Park in the centre of Iraklion (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Askeaton Contemporary Arts has invited me to speak next month at the 13th edition of ‘Welcome to the Neighbourhood,’ the local arts festival involving international and Irish artists who live and work in Co Limerick.

The programme begins on Monday 16 July 2018 and continues throughout July 2018.

Since 2006, Askeaton Contemporary Arts has commissioned, produced and exhibited contemporary art in Askeaton. The events are public, free and open to all, culminating in a special Open Day on Saturday 28 July, featuring new commissioned artworks.

I have been invited to speak on Friday evening, 20 July at 8 p.m. on El Greco and his influence on western art.

The programme notes say: ‘Askeaton's Church of Ireland priest, and accomplished author, blogger and journalist, Patrick Comerford is given carte blanche to present a talk at Askeaton Civic Trust. Expect a journey through the history of western art, with renaissance painter El Greco at the helm.’

Doménikos Theotokópoulos or “El Greco” (1541-1614) is closely identified with the Spanish Renaissance. Yet, as his popular nickname indicates, he was Greek by birth and he normally signed his works with his full birth name in Greek letters, Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος (Doménikos Theotokópoulos).

Theotokópoulos was born in Venetian Crete in 1541, the descendant of a prosperous urban family that had probably been driven out of Chania in western Crete to Iraklion after an uprising against the Venetians in 1526-1528.

This year’s programme in Askeaton opens on Monday morning, 16 July, at 11.30 a.m., with an invitation to join Askeaton tour guide Anthony Sheehy on an exploratory walk around the town’s mediaeval history.

For over a decade the Office of Public Works has been active inside Askeaton’s mediaeval castle, carrying out a long-term conservation project on one of Ireland’s most important buildings. On Wednesday 18 July, at 12.30 p.m., artist Carl Doran and OPW staff describe their work and the day-to-day tasks involved.

There will be another opportunity at 11.30 on Monday 23 July to share in Anthony Sheehy’s knowledge, exploring Askeaton’s history in a walk around the ruins of the Franciscan Friary.

Curators Max Andrews, Mariana Cánepa Luna (Latitudes, Barcelona), and Gareth Bell-Jones (Flat Time House, London) discuss some of their recent exhibition projects on Tuesday evening 24 July at 8 p.m., when they recall some of the travels and experiences that form part of their work and profession.

Karin Dubsky is one of Ireland’s leading marine ecologists. She works at Trinity College Dublin and is co-ordinator and co-founder of Coastwatch Europe. She campaigns regularly on environmental issues.

On Thursday evening 26 July, at 8 p.m., following the recent Coastwatch Europe exhibition at the European Parliament in Brussels, she will describe her work and how a greater understanding and inclusive vision of an area such as the Shannon Estuary area could be gained.

The annual open day, from 3 p.m. on Saturday 28 July, celebrates the work of 2018’s artists in residence. A reception at Askeaton Civic Trust will be followed by a guided tour of Askeaton, encountering new projects by Matt Calderwood, Jonny Lyons, Ruth Clinton and Niamh Moriarty.

All events are free and open to the public.

A seafront exhibition in Iraklion in 2013 on the making of the movie El Greco (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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