While viewing the events in the GPO Dublin 1916 a young Michael Collins said they had the ‘air of a Greek tragedy’.
The rebels, in true unselfish acts of bravery and heroism, snatched the dying embers of Irish nationhood for future generations to live in a Republic but it was the character of the leaders during and immediately after the Rising that ensured its permanence. Their HQ was chosen more for its dramatic than military location deep in the symbolic hub of the capitol. Pearse, Plunkett and McDonagh were poets, playwrights and theatrical producers who deported themselves as if in the last Act of a tragedy, casting themselves as sacrificial heroes, modelled on Cúchulainn. McDonagh with his sword, stick and cloak and Plunkett with his Celtic rings and bracelets. Politics and literature seemed to intersect at every stage of the proceedings and the oration of the Proclamation among the classical ionic columns of the GPO was histrionic. Even to his admirers, Pearse was a ‘bit of a pose’ - he branded an ancient sword right through a week of intense guerrilla fighting and insisted on handing over his sword in surrender to the victor at the top of Moore Street - a gesture of a bygone heroic age.
'A Greek Tragedy, 1916', Polycarbonate Etching
Charles Hulgraine is primarily a landscape and fine print artist in Dublin who holds firm that an artists drawing technique gives a direct insight into how the artist approaches his subjects, the environment, life values and mortality. He also believes that the role of the artist is to recognise significant marks as they occur, knowing what to retain or expand, by scavenging and disturbing the surface of things.