While on a residency in Cill Rialaigh in January this year I completed a series of pieces called ‘Inscape” for an exhibition at the 77OMG Culture Centre in Taipei….a renovated Jesuit church which is now a theatre, restaurant and gallery.


Artist: Eleanor Swan

The poet and Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins was born in England and spent some years in Ireland where he wrote many of his greatest works. The fundamental beauty at the heart of things was for him the real truth of the world: by coming close to it, cultivating the experience of it, a man would approach real happiness and understanding. Hopkins called this quality ‘inscape’. ‘Inscape’ was, Hopkins said, the very soul of art and he developed a dynamic rhythm in his poetry in order to accomodate it.
I have used the composition of Leonardo da Vincis’ “The Last Supper’” for my series of vessels. The appeal of the painting is its rhythm and movement. Instead of depicting the disciples in an undifferentiated line, Leonardo gathered them in 3’s, creating a network of formal and emotional connections binding each figure to his neighbour and to Christ in the middle. I unconsciously connect to these figures, their rhythm and their gestures. I see each figure in a series of curved and straight lines and block shapes, I don’t have to agonize over it , it comes naturally, in effect it is my true self coming through, my own rhythm.

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
‘The Last Supper’ painted between 1483-1497.


12 PhilipIMG_1540 3 John 6 Peter 10 Simon IMG_1578 IMG_1575 16 14 12 10 7 5 3 2 'Inscape'