Several years ago while vacationing in Dublin we paid a visit to the National Gallery of Ireland. Amongst the many beautiful paintings on display, one piece in particular stood out to me: Henry Jones Thaddeus’s Wounded Poacher. In addition to its diligent attention to detail, what appeals to me about this work is naturalistic approach it lends to its subject matter.
Whereas much of the art I enjoy usually contains some degree of allegory and/or symbolism, Wounded Poacher presents an intimate scene without any such frills, or at least none which seem apparent to me, and I admire how that narrative depicts its story in such an unflinching, straightforward manner. I really enjoy the juxtaposition created by the poacher’s vulnerable pose and the woman’s cold precision as she tends to his injury. Wounded Poacher also contains many of subtle details which might not be immediately apparent upon first viewing, such as the tipped over chair, the tobacco pipe and half-finished bottle on the table, the makeshift manner in which the table leg has been repaired, the kitchen spoon hanging in the background, ect. This is a such a bleak image but I must applaud how earnestly it’s conveyed.