Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master Art in Art History and Visual Cultural Studies



First Advisor

Kelly Scheffer

Second Advisor

Trenton Olsen

Third Advisor

Geremy Carnes


The Easter Rising of 1916 marked a defining moment in Irish history, as a group of Irish nationalists sought to overthrow British rule and establish an independent Irish Republic. While the rebellion was initially unsuccessful, it was a pivotal moment in Irish history that sparked a wave of national mourning and resistance following the execution of its leaders by the British government. Such a transition occurred with the careful and deliberate shaping of their legacy by their families with the aid of the Irish Catholic Church. This thesis explores the depiction of the executed leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising in the Irish visual arts, with the most significant focus on Dora Sigerson Shorter's A Monument to Pádraic Pearse and his Comrades, Shot in Easter Week. Shorter's sculpture was created in the immediate aftermath of the executions and captured the event's emotional impact and the sense of loss and defiance that permeated Irish society. Research conducted within this examines the evolution of the representation of the executed leaders from their initial portrayal as violent rebels to their recasting as heroic martyrs. This thesis will argue that the visual arts have played a central role in the construction of Irish national identity and the commemoration of the Easter Rising, providing a space for reflection, mourning, and resistance.