© James Hanley
James Hanley, Irish, b.1965
Title: Portrait of Ronnie Delany (b.1935), Athlete
Date: 2000
Medium: Oil on linen
206 x 155 cm
Credit Line: Commissioned, National Gallery of Ireland, as part of Irish Life & Permanent Portrait Series, 2000
Object Number: NGI.4684
DescriptionRonnie Delany was the youngest and only the seventh man in history to run a mile in under four minutes before winning gold for Ireland at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. He set three consecutive world records for the indoor mile and won 40 consecutive indoor races between 1955 and 1959. In this large portrait, Hanley depicts the former sportsman as an individual who has lost little of his physical strength or presence. Many references to his sporting life and remarkable achievements surround him, including a pair of running shoes at his feet and trompe l’oeil renderings of archival items on the wall behind him. The painting’s distinctive palette, characterised by bold, vibrant colour, and the striking likeness of Delany, are typical of James Hanley’s portraiture. The artist completed a BA in English and History of Art at University College Dublin before studying fine art at the National College of Art and Design. A member of Aosdána since 2008, Hanley has held several solo shows and contributed to many exhibitions in Ireland and abroad.

March 2016

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