Théophile Hamel

Dominick Daly O'Meara

c. 1847
The artist has chosen to capture a fleeting moment: the boy, seated outdoors in a natural landscape, has interrupted his game just long enough to have his portrait sketched. The bone bow and the arrows function as attributes, linking the child to the country's Aboriginal inhabitants - an association possibly intended to underline the subject's strong connection to his native land. He was, in fact, a member of the first generation of this Irish immigrant family to be born in Quebec. Hamel has positioned his subject in space with considerable care. The figure is framed in a close-up view, with the head turned a little to the right, the arms positioned away from the body and the legs bent back, so as to suggest a certain depth. The flowers and foliage on the left and the distant vista on the opposite side - both devices employed in "Self-portrait in a Landscape" - help to define the space around the child. The spirited brushstroke adds a touch of vitality and energy to the composition.
Dominick Daly O'Meara
c. 1847
oil on canvas
75 x 61.8 cm
Credit line
Purchased 1990
Accession number