*** artists illustrating boys fashions: Michael George Brennan

Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions: Michael George Brennan (Ireland/Italy, 1839-71)

Italian games

Figure 1.--Michael George Brennan was born in Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland (September 28, 1839). He grew up and studied in Ireland and England. He was a staunch Catholic. He went to Italy for health reasons, seeking warmer weather. He settled in Rome, but continued to have health problems. He died in Algeria (July 27, 1871). The painting shows a group of children playing in front of a church in Italy. I tink this is "The acolyte painted in 1870. On the door sign we can read in Italian: Oggi ci sarà la Via crucis (Today there will be the Via sacra -- i.e. the meditation of the Christ's Passion). Notice that the altar boy wears a hat like a priest or friar.

Michael George Brennan was born on September 28, 1839 in Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland. His father operated a hardware store. He was educated at Castlebar. And while still a youth tought himself shorthand and earned money selling reports to newspapers, includung a Dublin paper. He had inate artistic skills before any training. He began to acquire a reputation as a cracturist at school and in Castlebar. Some local personages took an interest in the boy. They sent him to Dublin at the age of 15 years to study at Dubkin Society's School in the Royal Hibernian Academy. He then went to London and entered the Royal Academny's School. He earned money by submitting drawings to 'Fun', a 'Punch' rival, but quit as a staunch Irish Catholic when ordered to caricature the Pope. Catholicism at the time was a najor issue in Ireland and England. It is at this time that Brennan contracted typhoid. He went home, but was advised to move to a warmer climate. He chose Italy and settled in Rome. He spent much of the rest of his life in Italy. As a result, although Irish born and educated. The few works he painted in his short life were Italian, not Irish images. He painted both landscapes and genre scenes. The work here is 'The acolyte" painted in 1870 (figure 1).


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Created: 9:03 PM 10/1/2019
Last updated: 9:03 PM 10/1/2019