PAST LECTURES & VISITS This is a list of our past lectures, you will find them interesting and may find the links useful. June 14th 2022 10:45 Live & on Zoom The Horse and Modern Art from George Stubbs (1714-1806) to Mark Wallinger (born 1959) The horse is so rooted within the psyche of the Western imagination that it has maintained its expressive power, as the current production of War Horse so eloquently testifies. The lecture traces major themes from Stubbs, the greatest horse painter of all time, to Degas, Duchamp-Villon’s Large Horse, a modern metaphor of horsepower, Munnings’s horses as defining images of Englishness, Picasso’s agonised horse in its death throes in Guernica (1937) which expresses the horrendous destruction of the city in the Spanish Civil War. The lecture concludes with the very diverse ways in which our leading contemporary artists have made use of the expressive power of the equestrian image. Mark Wallinger's gigantic 50 metre high horse will soon loom over the Kent countryside at Ebbsfleet. May 10th 2022 10:45 Live & on Zoom Lincoln Cathedral: Mary’s Paradise Garden Jonathan Foyle During the thirteenth century, Lincoln Cathedral was amongst the greatest building projects in England and despite a series of disasters, from an earthquake to war and robbery, we have inherited a magnificent and relatively unscathed masterpiece of art and architecture. Through its sheer size and complexity, the cathedral’s beauty can be difficult to understand. But through writing the book Lincoln Cathedral: Biography of a Great Building the speaker offers a fresh and coherent analysis of the cathedral’s evolution. This talk shows how this wonderfully inventive structure embodied changing ideas about the Virgin Mary, the Queen of Paradise, to whom it was dedicated. April 12th 2022 10:45 Live & on Zoom Elgin Marbles Alan Read In the two centuries since they were removed from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin, the meaning and significance of the ‘Elgin marbles’ has changed dramatically. From architectural decoration to disputed cultural objects this lecture looks at the response to them over their time in Britain, from the original controversy over their purchase to the current debate surrounding the restitution of the marbles to the new Acropolis Museum in Athens. Tuesday March 15th 2022 Study Day Marc Chagall - his Life and Art Monica Bohm-Duchen Registration 9.15 am. Lectures: 10.00-12.30 pm Venue: THE ARTS CENTRE STAMFORD PE9 2DL Nearest car park - Wharf Road PE9 2EB Cost which includes coffee: Members £20, any Arts Society member £20, Non-Members £25 One of the best-loved artists of the twentieth century, Chagall is paradoxically one of the least understood. Although his colourful images of flying cows and floating lovers may seem naïve, and he promoted a view of himself as an intuitive genius, he was in fact a complex and sophisticated individual. In tracing his long and fascinating career, Monica Bohm-Duchen, will place the artist firmly in his social, religious and cultural context, and examine his prodigious output in a wide range of different media. March 8th 2022 10:45 Live & on Zoom The Glasgow Boys, the Glasgow Girls, the Scottish Colourists and the French Connection Harry Fletcher In the 1880s and 1890s Europe and America saw the rise of artistic colonies, such as the Newlyn School, practising a form of painting known as “naturalism”. Another such colony, the Glasgow boys, seized the mantle of Bastien-Lepage and their paintings became the toast of Europe. The Glasgow Girls were their contemporaries. Painters such as Bessie MacNicol and designers, such as Margaret and Frances Macdonald, influenced the development of the Glasgow Style and achieved international recognition, contributing to the development of the modern movement. The Scottish Colourists had direct contact with French Post-Impressionism, particularly Matisse and the Fauves. As a result their paintings are considered some of the most progressive in British art of the early 20th century. During my talk, I will discuss the lives, the times and the work of these artists. February 8th 2022 10:45 Live & on Zoom Holbein’s Ambassadors Anthony Russell Hans Holbein was the first great mainland painter to spend much time in England and he brought with him a sophistication and skill, with far reaching consequences for this island's artistic development. His Ambassadors is recognised by the National Gallery of London as one of its greatest treasures. It dates from a tradition in the arts when no object was without meaning and symbolism. However, practically all of this meaning has been lost to the modern observer. This lecture considers the tempestuous circumstances of its creation and the hidden messages concealed within it. The painting tells us much about the state of Europe at the time and the hopes and fears of its major players. January 11th 2022 10:45 Live & on Zoom Art in the 21st Century Anna Moszynska How do we make sense of the art of our time? In this lecture, I examine some of the recent trends and practices which have helped to define the art of the new millennium. I show how under the influence of globalization, art from other continents which has so often been overlooked in the past, now plays a major role in museum acquisitions and display. I also consider how and why documentary practices and new media have become so dominant, and the way in which ‘participation’ and ‘relational aesthetics’ have emerged as key expressions. Artists include Ai Weiwei, Francis Alys, Jeremy Deller, Adrian Ghenie and Mona Hatoum. December 14th 2021 10:45 Live & on Zoom Christmas with Giles, Grandma and Family Barry Venning For a great many members of The Arts Society, the cartoonist Carl Giles was as much a part of the festive season as the Christmas tree, crackers and the Queen's Speech. So popular were the Giles annuals as Christmas presents that they helped to make him Britain's best loved, most successful and wealthiest cartoonist. The talk looks at Giles's life and work with a particular emphasis on his seasonal cartoons, particularly those featuring Grandma and the Giles family. They include some of his funniest cartoons but, as the art historian William Feaver pointed out, they also demonstrate that he had few equals when it came to representing Britain in Winter. November 9th 2021 10:45 (AGM at 10.30am) Cathedrals: safe places to do risky things Janet Gough This talk provides an overview of the Church of England's magnificent 42 cathedrals, jewels in the crown of England's built heritage, some recognised as World Heritage Sites. Beautifully illustrated by Country Life photographer, Paul Barker, in addition to looking at their history and stories, evolving architecture and treasures, the talk considers the role of cathedrals over the centuries and specifically their role today. Tuesday, 19th October 2021 Study Day (Venue: The Arts Centre Stamford) A Crisis of Brilliance: The Slade School and the revolution in British Art, 1910-1919 Dr David Boyd Haycock In the years leading up to the First World War, the Slade School of Art in London was the leading establishment in England for teaching of drawing and painting. Its students included some of the most important British artists of the first half of the twentieth century, including David Bomberg, Dora Carrington, Mark Gertler, Paul Nash, C.R.W. Nevinson, William Roberts, Stanley Spencer and Edward Wadsworth. Based on his book, A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War (2009), this lecture explores the fascinating story of these artists’ interlocking lives, and their artistic education and development. October 12th 2021 10:45 The Subtle Art of Fake News Geri Parlby Fake News has been around since the time of the Egyptian Pharaohs and art has always been one of its favourite media. In this talk I will be uncovering the subtle art of spin and propaganda in art from the glories of Ancient Mesopotamia to the Norman Conquest and then onto Elizabethan England and the dark days of Nazi Germany. Every picture tells a story—whether it is true or not is an entirely different matter. September 14th 2021 10:45 am at Barn Hill Church Same Old, Same New Aliki Braine One might think that it is easy to spot the difference between contemporary and historical art, but what about what they have in common. Can old masters help us understand art works such as the infamous 'pile of bricks' or 'unmade bed'? This lecture explores whether the old masters can help us understand modern and contemporary works, and questions whether artists' intentions and strategies have really changed across the centuries. June 8th 2021 11am on Zoom The Glory of Venice: 500 years of music and the arts Peter Medhurst With its huge variety of cultural influences from southern Italy, Northern Europe and from the East, Venice was designed by its inhabitants to be an exceptional place. Its music is exceptional too, and from 1550 to 1750 Venice was at the forefront of musical ideas in Europe. This lecture explores the music making at St Marks, the music of Venice's 17th century opera houses, and the important role played by the four Ospidali, which gave rise to the great concertos of Vivaldi and his contemporaries. The lecture/study day also looks at 19th and 20th century compositions that were premièred in Venice. May 11th 11am on Zoom Programme Change Hans Christian Andersen: Wit, Painter and Traveller Karin Fernald As a child, Hans Andersen made puppet costumes, taught by his cobbler father. Later in life he sketched, though he never had lessons. He produced collages which anticipate early 20th century modernism and his papercuts of swans, ballet dancers, court ladies, dancing millers, storks, the sandman and other folklore figures, are exquisite and magical. He was a sharp observer of life in Copenhagen, saying of his stories “Every character is taken from life; I know and have known them all.” He was a keen traveller over much of Europe and part of Asia; “Life is to fly with railway flight around the earth – we’re long enough underneath it!” And, influenced by his friend, scientist H.C. Orsted, he was thrilled by the scientific discoveries of his day, even putting them into some of his 156 published stories. With slides of Andersen’s sketches, papercuts and collages, and illustrations of his stories by artists from all over the world, including Arthur Rackham, Edmond Dulac, Lars Bo and Kai Nielsen, and with paintings by Christen Kobke and other Danish artists from Andersen’s day. April 13th 2021 11am on Zoom Vaux le Vicomte - Fit for a King. The inspiration behind Versailles Palace - a tale of misplaced ambition, jealousy and betrayal Carole Petipher French 17th century chateau design owes much to one man; the ambitious visionary Nicolas Fouquet who is still somewhat of an enigma today. He seemed invincible but made one grave error of judgement which was to lead to his downfall. He employed the country’s best talent of the day to commission a spectacular chateau for himself. In doing so he was completely outshining the Sun King; Vaux le Vicomte presented a radical new look for the century whilst Versailles was nothing more than a humble hunting lodge at the time. The story that ensues is legendary. Tuesday, 16th March 2021 (Via Zoom) Study Day The Grit and the Glamour: Art in the Jazz Age Marie-Anne Mancio Celebrate the centenary of the Roaring Twenties with an interdisciplinary exploration of the art, design, music, literature, fashion, and lives of the era's protagonists. From Harlem's renaissance of black culture, to the French Riviera - playground of wealthy socialites and inspiration for artists like Matisse and Cocteau, writers Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds - to the 'new woman' embodied by Tamara de Lempicka and Coco Chanel. March 9th 2021 11am on Zoom Legends in Czech Glass Mark Hill The 1950s–70s saw a renaissance in Czech glass design that re-established the Bohemian region’s global reputation in this area. From behind the Iron Curtain, skilled designers pushed the boundaries of 20th century glass design and produced unique art glass masterpieces that went on to inspire visually stunning, highly innovative and commercial ranges. Despite this, the designers responsible were rarely named. Until today, the designs they produced have been typically forgotten or misattributed. This lecture reveals the work of seven influential designers across cut, blown and pressed glass, and considers the economic and political context that affected it. Click here for Mark’s own web site page on Czech Glass February 9th 2021 11am on Zoom Tate Modern-much more than a pile of bricks Ian Swankie Tate Modern originally opened in 2000 but in June 2016 opened its doors to the stunning new Blavatnik Building immediately setting the new gold standard for museum design. This talk looks at the sleek new architecture and its engagement with the local environment and then follows the highlights of the collection, starting with Monet, Matisse and Picasso, continuing through the 20th century artists such as Bacon, Freud and Epstein and on to some international recent works. Some are easy to explain, and some are quite challenging. Some are profound, some are witty, some are whacky, but they all have a place. Tate Modern is the most visited modern art museum in the world and this armchair tour is a chance to explore the artworks without the crowds. Click here for the Tate Modern web site January 12th 2021 11am Passionate Potters - from de Morgan to Leach Julian Richards William Morris led a revolution against the products of the machine age. The first of our ‘passionate potters’, William de Morgan, was a friend of Morris who rediscovered the secrets of Near Eastern lustre glazes. In contrast, the eccentric and argumentative Martin Brothers created a range of elaborate salt glazed pots unparalleled in their imaginative breadth. Sir Edmund Elton, the ‘potter baronet’, made pots which combine startling glazes with exotic forms. And finally, Bernard Leach, the father of English studio pottery, not only married the arts of Japan and England but created a legacy that is still alive today. This lecture explores the lives of these truly passionate potters and celebrates their extraordinary and beautiful creations. Click here for more information on The De Morgan Foundation December 8th 2020 Step into the Christmas Card Caroline Holmes The return of a popular lecturer with a timely theme for the end of the year. For the last 150 years Christmas cards have been adorned with nativity scenes or holly, ivy and mistletoe, a rotund Father Christmas, hosiery, trees, and to the shout of Noel, Noel. Sacred and profane, plant symbolism and carols that echo the sacred magic of the nativity scene, the lowing animals popularized by St Francis of Assisi, the shepherds and kings, all playing their part and foretelling the future. There are also fashion plates, New Year wishes and cartoons. So what on earth do Christmas cards portray – tasty, tasteful or tasteless? November 10th (AGM at 10.30am) The Sunflower in Art and Culture Lecturer Twigs Way A fascinating talk exploring the many depictions, myths and cultural roles of that most glorious of plants, the sunflower. Tracing its origins from South America, its association with the god Apollo, to its role in art as personification of kings starring in depictions by artists from van Dyck to van Gogh. Worshipped by the aesthetes and arts and crafts movements it found favour in the gardens of the Impressionists, and led a touch of magic to the humbler cottage garden. From Clytie to Klimt this is the extraordinary tale of an extraordinary plant. October 13th A Child’s Life in the Middle Ages Imogen Corrigan Where are the children in Medieval art? So often they are missing and it’s sometimes assumed that because of the high infant mortality rates, parents deliberately didn’t bond with their children. Nothing could be further from the truth; children were cherished, cosseted and spoilt, but they worked hard, alongside adults too. We know that they loved toys as well as word games, bunking off school and teasing their teachers. This lecture goes from before the cradle with superstitions surrounding pregnancy and childbirth, to the trials and tribulations of teenage years and all too often to an early grave. September 8th Queen of Instruments: The Lute in Old Master Painting Adam Busiakiewicz The lute holds a special place in the history of art: painters of the Italian Renaissance depicted golden- haired angels plucking its delicate strings, evoking celestial harmony; in the sixteenth century, during the rise of humanism, the lute was a becoming pastime of educated courtiers, as depicted by the likes of Holbein and Titian; throughout the seventeenth century, the instrument continued to play a key role in emphasising the intimate, debauched and transient pleasures of interior scenes by Jan Steen and portraits by Frans Hals. This lecture looks at the lute, and other musical instruments, as devices to express various aspects of the human character throughout the ages. This lecture will have live lute playing. March 10th Leonardo’s Women Shirley Smith Leonardo da Vinci’s images of women, whether Madonnas, mistresses or wealthy members of society, are among the most renowned works of art of the Italian Renaissance. This lecture will study his revolutionary rendering of the female figure and how he harnessed the interplay of light and shadow to produce images that combine the spiritual with the sensual, the mystical with the mysterious. Guardian article on da Vinchi’s women February 11th Hockney at 80 John Iddon This lecture, celebrating Hockney’s 80th birthday, will look at the artist’s journey from Bradford to Swinging 1960’s London and then to hedonistic California and back to Bridlington and his ambitious and extraordinary paintings of the Yorkshire Wolds in the 2012 Royal Academy Exhibition. The talk will also look at his art since 2012 and consider generally how, like his hero Picasso, his career has been marked by a restless seeking of challenge and experimentation. Click here for the Tate page on Hockney January 14th 2020 Gods with Thunderbolts Guy de la Bedoyere Roman Britain’s religion is by far and away the most fertile source of art in the whole 360 years of the province. This was a world of official state cults of classical deities and emperors. It also led to the Romans giving names and forms to native cults, like the water nymph Coventina. The Romans combined some native cults with their own, created the conflated cults of which the most famous is Sulis-Minerva in Bath. This led to the creation of a whole type of hybrid art known as Romano-Celtic. Rome also brought exotic cults from the East, resulting in temples of Mithras, and Christian iconography appearing in among traditional pagan motifs. This lecture explores Roman Britain’s rich religious heritage and the unique monuments found here from the magnificent temple pediment at Bath to the great mosaics of Hinton and Lullingstone with their Christian and allegorical images.
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Web site and mobile phone pages designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome Handshake Computer Training