John Hogan
Biography of Neoclassical Irish Sculptor Noted for Stone/Marble Carvings.

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John Hogan (1800-1858)

John Hogan was the neo-classicist of Irish Sculpture. Along with his contemporaries John Henry Foley, John Lawlor and Samuel Ferris Lynn, was a key figure in the history of Irish art in the 1800's. Hogan's best known works include his three versions of The Dead Christ (also known as the Redeemer in Death). Made from flawless Carrara marble, the first version is located in St. Therese's Church, Dublin (1829), the second in St. Finbarr's Church, Cork (1833), and the third is located in the Basilica of St. John The Baptist, Newfoundland (1854).



For more facts, see: Plastic Art.
For more about arts in Ireland
see: Irish Art Questions.

For a list of the world's best ever
stone/wood carvers and bronze
artists, see: Greatest Sculptors.

For a guide to the chronology
and evolution of 3-D art,
see: Sculpture History.

Hogan was born in Tallow, County Waterford in 1800, but his family soon moved to Cork where he spent most of his childhood. When he was 12, he was sent to work as a lawyer's clerk. Deeply dissatisfied with this occupation he took up carpentry at the age of 16. His talent for drawing and wood carving was recognised by the architect Sir Thomas Deane, who offered him an apprenticeship and encouraged him to take up sculpture. During this time he spent 3 years attending lectures on anatomy by Dr. Woodroffe and received commissions from Sir Thomas Deane and Bishop Murphy of Cork.

At the age of 24 Hogan was sponsored by wealthy benefactors, including Lord de Tabley and William Carty, the Cork critic and writer, to take a trip to Rome to further his education. Once in Rome he studied Roman, Greek and Renaissance art at St. Luke and the Vatican galleries - and ended up staying for 24 years, between 1824 and 1848. Eventually, the renowned Danish sculptor Bertel Thorwaldsen is believed to have said that Hogan is "the best sculptor I leave after me in Rome."

The Best Plastic Art
For the most important works, see: Greatest Sculptures Ever.


A master artist with both bronze and stone, Hogan's international reputation was established in 1929 with the first of his versions of the Dead Christ. After this, commissions flew in from Irish bishops who visited his studio in Rome. Other works include the Sleeping Shepherd, The Drunken Faun (UCD), Father Matthew (Cork), a bronze statue of O'Connell (Limerick) and Dr Doyle, Bishop of Kildare.

Sculpture Appreciation: Ireland
To learn how to evaluate 19th century neoclassical Irish sculptors like John Hogan, see: How to Appreciate Modern Sculpture. For earlier works, please see: How to Appreciate Sculpture.

Hogan returned to Ireland around 1848, just 3 years after the infamous potato famine. He was a great supporter of the Irish movement for independence and went on to create a marble statue of Daniel O Connell, an important figure in the movement. The statue stands today at City Hall Dublin, the same spot where O'Connell gave his first speech against the Act of Union in 1800. He died at his home in Dublin, in 1858.

Further Information

For classical works, see Greek Sculpture. For more about Irish sculptors, see: John Henry Foley (Dublin), Oliver Sheppard (Tyrone), Albert G Power (Dublin), Rosamund Praeger (County Down), Seamus Murphy (Cork), FE McWilliam (County Down), Alexandra Wejchert (Crackow and Limerick), Conor Fallon (Dublin), Oisin Kelly (Dublin), Eamonn O'Doherty (Derry), Edward Delaney (Dublin/Connemara) and Rowan Gillespie (Dublin).

• For more facts about sculptors and contemporary sculpture in Ireland, see: Irish Art Guide.
• For information about ceramics sculpture, see: Ceramic Art.
• For our main index, see: Homepage.

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