This image is subject to copyright and cannot be downloaded or reproduced without written permission.
Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Stargazer

The Stargazer

Jack B. Yeats (1871 – 1957)

© Estate of Jack B Yeats. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2013

  • Artist
    Jack B. Yeats
  • Title
    The Stargazer
  • Date
    1900
  • Dimensions
    46 × 30.5cm
  • Medium
    Watercolour
  • Collection
    Niland Collection
  • Provenance
    Bought by Sligo County Library and Museum from the Capuchin Annual in 1962.
Description

Yeats transforms an image of a jockey on horseback into a poignant and poetic idea in this early watercolour. The cut-off composition emphasises the strength of the horse whose powerful head and neck is raised up as he moves along. The jockey, who keeps a firm grip on the reins, is presented as a shadowy but skilful figure. The left-hand side of the composition is devoted to an open view of the landscape. Knocknarea can be seen in the distance beyond the purple of the roadway and the evening lights of the cottages.

The title, Stargazer, refers to the way in which the horse and man are concerned with the evening sky rather than the road ahead. Their connection to their surroundings is therefore far from mundane. Yeats introduces a mystical element in which the rider’s interest in the celestial sphere transcends ordinary experience. The painting was shown in one of Yeats’s earliest Sketches from Life in the West of Ireland exhibitions in Dublin in 1900. Its composition was misread by at least one reviewer who felt the country racer carried the head abnormally high (1). But the painting’s ability to inject metaphysical ideas into depictions of rural Irish life was of enormous significance to Irish visual art of this period.

(1) The Nation, 1900, undated cutting, Yeats Archive, National Gallery of Ireland.

Written by Roisin Kennedy

Browse the Collection

Browse by: Image / List

  1. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Mare and Foals
  2. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Mary Colum
  3. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) - An Island Man
  4. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Communicating with Prisoners
  5. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Sailor home from the sea
  6. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- He wins
  7. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Jack B. Yeats
  8. Rita Duffy (b.1959) - Belfast Pieta
  9. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - William and Mary
  10. Nick Miller - Portrait of Barrie Cooke
  11. Patrick Scott (b. 1921) - Bog Sun (16)
  12. Nick Miller - John McGahern
  13. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Car is at the door
  14. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - The Great Breath
  15. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Head of a Boy
  16. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Untitled, the interior of a shop
  17. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Stargazer
  18. Jack B. Yeats - White Shower
  19. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Kitsy Franklin
  20. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Strand Races, West Of Ireland
  21. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mitchell
  22. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Shruna Meala, Rosses Point
  23. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Shining Shallows
  24. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Douglas Hyde