Monday, 28 January 2019
Stella Grace Lyons – CULTIVATING THE LAND: GARDENS, FLORA AND AGRICULTURE IN ART
A cultivated garden or plot of agricultural land symbolises the control that the human race has learned to exercise over its surroundings. Looking at imagery from diverse centuries and societies, we explore how portrayals of gardens, flora, and agriculture in art, have given us insight into our relationship with the natural world, and helped us to define what it means to be human. We look at a variety of different approaches to the subject, such as the shocking symbolism in Hieronymus Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’, the political imagery in Millet’s ‘The Gleaners’, and the beautiful textile designs of William Morris.
Monday, 25 February 2019
Peter Medhurst – THE MUSICAL WORLD OF Johan ZOFFANY
Johann Zoffany was born in Germany in 1733, but after training in Rome, settled in London in the 1760s and became one of the most sought after of portrait painters. However, his great love of music allowed him to create sensitive portraits of contemporary composers and performers, often shown playing their musical instruments – which themselves are represented with extraordinary insightfulness. This lecture explores the repertoire of Zoffany’s ‘musical’ paintings which in turn are matched with period song and piano music.
Monday, 25 March 2019
Dr. John Stevens – THE ART OF RABINDRANATH TAGORE
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) is arguably the most important Indian artistic figure of the modern era. The first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, claimed that he had two gurus: Gandhi and Tagore. A renowned poet, novelist, composer and painter, Tagore is also the only person in history to have written the national anthems for two countries (India and Bangladesh). He became a global sensation when he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, the first non-European to do so. This lecture provides an introduction to Tagore’s remarkable life and work, including his novels, poetry, songs and paintings. It also explores the role Tagore’s art played in the story of India’s fight for independence.
Monday, 06 May 2019
Bertie Pearce – “THE DANCING FAUN” BY ADRIAEN DE VRIES
Bertie recounts the extraordinary tale of how a small bronze statue, which had sat in his grandfather’s garden for 40 years, was discovered as a masterpiece and ended up in the Getty Museum, California. Adriaen de Vries (1556-1626) was a Northern Mannerist sculptor born in the Netherlands. A technical virtuoso, he created spectacular bronzes for the most discerning patrons of his time, including the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II of Prague. He excelled in refined modelling and bronze casting and in the manipulation of patina and became the most famous European sculptor of his generation.
Monday, 27 May 2019
Colin Davies– ZAHA HADID – ARCHITECTURAL SUPERSTAR
Dame Zaha Hadid died on March 31st 2016 at age of 65. Architectural historians of the future will surely recognise her as one of the most important architects of the early 21st century. She was born in Iraq and her reputation was global, but she made Britain her home. This lecture tells the story of her career from the visionary projects of the 1980s, through the years of frustration when her designs were considered unbuildable, to the prolific crop of successful projects built all over the world in the last decade of her life.
Monday, 23 September 2019
Julian Halsby – THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF MISIA SERT: MUSE TO RENOIR, TOULOUSE-LAUTREC, BONNARD AND VUILLARD; PATRON OF THE BALLET RUSSES; CONCERT PIANIST AND FASHION ICON
Born into a Polish family, Misia was a virtuoso pianist taught by Gabriel Fauré, before marrying Thadee Natanson owner of the magazine ‘La Revue Blanche’. She was painted many times by Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre Bonnard, Eduard Vuillard (who was deeply in love with her), and Renoir who wanted to paint her nude. She knew Debussy and Ravel who dedicated several pieces to her. She later remarried a wealthy businessman and was able to finance Diaghilev’s extraordinary Russian Ballets becoming an integral part of the circle around Picasso, Stravinsky, Cocteau and Nijinsky. Her final marriage was to the Spanish muralist José Sert with whom she travelled extensively, becoming Coco Chanel’s closet friend and confidante. Misia was at the very heart of modern art and music in Paris. Misia Sert was the subject of a major exhibition in the Musée d’Orsay in 2012
Monday, 28 October 2019
Sophie Oosterwijk – WINE, WOMEN AND SONG? DUTCH GENRE PAINTING BY VERMEER AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES
At first sight, seventeenth-century society in the Dutch Republic may strike modern viewers as dour and staunchly calvinistic, especially when we look at portraits of merchants and dignitaries with their wives, dressed in stern black outfits and stiff white collars. Nonetheless, there was clearly another side to Dutch society, as genre paintings can reveal to us. Whereas scenes painted by Johannes Vermeer may seem above reproach with their sense of tranquility and decorum, he did work in the same context as his contemporaries Pieter de Hooch, Jan Steen and Gabriel Metsu, to name but a few. An elegant couple in a well-furnished room may appear respectable enough. However, when we start noticing a glass and a jug, looks and gestures, musical instruments, and perhaps suggestive paintings in the background, it is quite likely that the artist intended his viewer to read a bit more into his painting: perhaps an honest courtship with a view towards marriage, but possibly something rather less proper.
Monday, 25 November 2019
John Ericson– NORMAN ROCKWELL: GREAT AMERICAN ARTIST OR MERE ILLUSTRATOR?
A story teller with a brush! A celebrated and prolific twentieth century painter and illustrator whose work has probably been seen by a larger audience than any other artist in History! In America his work enjoys broad popular appeal, where Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations he created for ‘The Saturday Evening Post.’ Today his work sells for millions of dollars.