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Portrait of Marie Cassidy to be unveiled at National Gallery of Ireland

She was chosen to sit for the portrait in recognition of her contribution to Irish science.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? The portrait of Professor Marie Cassidy Source: National Gallery of Ireland

A PORTRAIT OF State Pathologist Marie Cassidy is due to be unveiled at the National Gallery of Ireland today. 

The painting, by Cork-born artist Jack Hickey, was commissioned by the National Gallery as part of the Hennessy Portrait Prize 2017.

The oil on canvas piece is the latest addition to the gallery’s National Portrait Collection, which acknowledges individuals who have made major inputs to Irish life.

Professor Cassidy was chosen to sit for the portrait in recognition of her contribution to science.

Cassidy was born and educated in Glasgow, Scotland. She joined the Office of the State Pathologist as Deputy State Pathologist in January 1998 and succeeded Dr John Harbison as State Pathologist in January 2004. In September, she announced her retirement

Cassidy also worked as a consultant for the United Nations, helping to identify the remains of those in mass graves in former Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone. She currently lectures in forensic medicine in the Royal College of Surgeons and Trinity College Dublin.

Commenting on the portrait, Dr Brendan Rooney, curator of the National Portrait Collection, said Cassidy has “dedicated the last 20 years of her career to assisting the investigations into many hundreds of suspicious deaths in Ireland”. 

Swords park 

The winner of the Portrait Prize each year receives €15,000 and a commission worth €5,000 to produce a portrait of a sitter for inclusion in the collection.

Hickey met Cassidy twice and the backdrop of the painting was inspired by one of the locations where they met – a park in Swords, Dublin. 

Speaking ahead of the painting being unveiled, Cassidy said it is “a tremendous honour to have my portrait hang in the National Gallery of Ireland, and to share wall space with such iconic figures”. 

She thanked Hickey for “his talent and patience in capturing the piece”. 

Portraits of TV presenter Graham Norton, Focus Ireland founder Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, All-Ireland-winning Kilkenny hurler Henry Shefflin and the late author Maeve Binchy were previously commissioned as part of the collection.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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