The delight is in the detail.
FROM THE IRON AGE TO THE TWELFTH CENTURY A.D., IRISH METALWORK TREASURES LIKE THE DERRYNAFLAN PATEN, THE ARDAGH CHALICE AND THE CROSS OF CONG WERE ENDOWED WITH EXQUISITE DECORATIVE DETAIL. THE ARTISTRY AND CRAFTSMANSHIP THAT WENT INTO THE CREATION OF THESE PRECIOUS ARTEFACTS IS JAW-DROPPING.
But when the delight is in the detail, how do you share it? When the irreplaceable objects themselves have to be preserved behind glass, as part of an exhibition, how do you let people in on the secrets they can only really appreciate up close?
OBSCURE OBJECTS OF DESIRE? Part of the solution was to display huge digital images of carefully chosen details from selected treasures on large illuminated panels located in the window alcoves in the newly refurbished gallery in Kildare Street. These illuminated panels brought the visitor’s attention to the tiny features that were almost impossible to appreciate with the naked eye. Details such as the lettering on component parts of the Derrynaflan paten – used to hold the eucharist during mass – which are not visible on the finished object but were put there by a literate craftsman to help him assemble it later. Or the name of the craftsman’s family visible on the side of the Cross of Cong.
HERE’S ONE THEY MADE EARLIER Although they are now priceless, these treasures were originally made to be handled, made to be used, made to be in contact with human hands.
Focusing on a detail made it easier for us to tell the story of how a craftsman working in gold, silver or precious stones was able to produce such intricate work over one thousand years ago. Using design skills and a mastery of materials that would be remarkable using today’s computer technology and automated production.
Created by Tom Meenaghan & Associates in conjunction with Wendy Williams Design.