Sr Stanislaus Kennedy ‘very humbled’ by new portrait

Painting of social campaigner unveiled at the Natoinal Gallery of Ireland

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy at the National Gallery during the unveiling of her portrait by artist Vera Klute where it has entered the portrait collection of the National Gallery. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy at the National Gallery during the unveiling of her portrait by artist Vera Klute where it has entered the portrait collection of the National Gallery. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Thu, Jul 31, 2014, 18:38

A new painting to the social justice campaigner Sr Stanislaus Kennedy has entered the portrait collection of the National Gallery of Ireland.

Sr Stan (75), the founder of the homelessness charity Focus Ireland and the Immigrant Council of Ireland, said she was “very humbled” to be chosen as the subject of a painting.

Sr Stan pronounced it to be accurate and “full of life”, but she confessed, like most people, not to like looking at herself.

The portrait, by Vera Klute, a graduate of Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, was commissioned by the gallery for its national portrait collection. It is now on public view in the Millennium Wing.

Three sittings

The painting took three sittings and wasn’t onerous, the nun said.

Ms Klute said she was nervous about the commission. “Women are often concerned about their looks, but there was no complaints from Sr Stan regarding any of that.”

Dr Brendan Rooney, curator of Irish art in the National Gallery, said the painting was very much in keeping with the ambitions of the national portrait collection when it was set up in 1884.

It was set up by Henry Doyle (second director of the gallery, 1869-92) to recognise “eminent Irishmen and Irish women . . . whose lives serve in any way to illustrate her history or throw light on her social or literary or artistic records”.

Dr Rooney added: “The gallery’s collaboration with Sr Stan and Vera Klute is wholly in keeping with Henry Doyle’s pioneering vision of a portrait collection that celebrates Irish endeavour and creativity.”