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Head of Zeus
A Reluctant Memoir
A Reluctant Memoir by Robert Ballagh

A fiercely honest and unvarnished autobiography from Ireland's most successful and controversial living artist.

Making his name as a Pop artist in the late 1960s and 70s, Robert Ballagh quickly achieved an international reputation. With little formal artistic training, he triumphed in his field despite often formidable hostility. His work was also strikingly topical and political, playing with classic images by Goya or Delacroix to express outrage about the situation in Northern Ireland.

But it is his series of realistic portraits of writers, politicians and fellow artists – often searingly inquisitive and moving in equal measure – that have won him lasting fame. His subjects include Brian Friel, Seamus Heaney, Samuel Beckett, James Watson, Francis Crick, Harold Pinter and Fidel Castro. And his remarkable self-portraits unsparingly document the process of his own ageing. This memoir is also a story of Ireland over the past sixty years, its violence, hypocrisy and immobility as well as its creativity and generosity.

Head of Zeus * Memoir
20 Sep 2018 * 448pp * £8.99 * 9781786695307
'One of Ireland's most versatile artists'
Irish Times
'His writing is warm, dry and thoughtfully anecdotal ... For him there is no conflict between the visual and verbal. He has used the former to celebrate the latter; and now, in a deft act of inversion, he uses vibrant words to explain the development of his painting'
Irish Times
'Handsome and well-illustrated book ... This memoir paints a picture of a contented man who has worked hard, was blessed with a good marriage, and has enjoyed a varied and successful career'
Sunday Times (Eire)
'The directness in his style makes his words all the more poignant'
Irish Examiner
'A great read'
Tuaum Herald
'I’ve long admired Robert Ballagh's art so I turned to A Reluctant Memoir to learn more about the man. I wasn't disappointed with this fascinating read of a life well-lived. There's an added bonus as his paintings feature in full glory and colour throughout the book'
Martina Fitzgerald, Irish Independent, Books of the Year
Robert Ballagh
Robert Ballagh
Robert Ballagh is an Irish artist, painter and designer. He lives and works in Dublin.