Ireland is voting today in a referendum on marriage equality. Artist Joe Caslin has plastered on the exterior of Caherkinmonwee Castle in Galway, two 50-foot women embrace. The pose is evocative of one of Ireland’s most famous paintings, Frederic William Burton‘s 1864 watercolor, Hellelil and Hildebrand, The Meeting on the Turret Stairs.
Based on an old Danish ballad, the Burton piece shows the final moments between two young lovers, a princess and her bodyguard, before the bodyguard is executed for being an unsuitable match. The artist also painted two men in a similar embrace in the center of Dublin. Caslin told Artnet News:
“The significance of the painting is of someone having a higher power over a union of love and not allowing it to take place.”
The castle in Galway is not in the center of town, but the 40-foot-tall Dublin one is in one of the city’s most heavily trafficked neighborhoods:
“I had looked at that wall for the past five years. It’s right smack bang in the middle of the city.”
To have something like that as a 40-foot piece in the center of the city was incredibly important to a large number of people. It’s more to do with the acceptance.”
Let’s hope Ireland has something to celebrate tomorrow.
(Photos, David Sexton; via Artnet News)