Past Lectures & Visits 16 April – Linda Smith GREAT TARTS IN ART: HIGH CULTURE & THE OLDEST PROFESSION A mixture of art-historical analysis and scandalous anecdote, this lecture takes a generally light- hearted look at changing attitudes to sexual morality down the ages, by examining the portraits and careers of some of history’s most notorious mistresses and courtesans. It also charts the rather complex and ambiguous attitudes of art and society towards the numerous anonymous working girls at the lower end of the scale, by investigating how they have been represented in art at different times and places from the 17th to the 20th century. Parisian prostitutes in Art Prostitute/Slavery web site 19 March – David Phillips INCOME & INSPIRATION: FINANCIAL SECRETS OF THE MASTERS It’s almost taboo to mention money in art gallery wall labels, yet in reality artists were as pre- occupied with cash as the rest of us. We watch the tug of war between creativity and credit in financial vignettes from five centuries, including a role for Charles Dickens as a virtuoso financial advisor solving a little local difficulty for William Holman Hunt. We look at prices for new art in relation to the cost of living for both artists and patrons in the past and conclude by wondering whether today’s colossal world art market is to the benefit or at a cost for creativity. Report on Art prices for 2016 10 most expensive artists 19 February – Anthea Streeter DAME ZAHA HADID Before her untimely death in 2016, Dame Zaha Hadid was one of the most distinguished architects in the world. She was also a talented designer. As well as receiving numerous awards and honours, she received the Pritzker Prize for Architecture in 2004; the UK's most prestigious architectural award, the RIBA Stirling Prize, in 2010 and 2011; and the Royal Gold Medal in 2015. In 2012 she was made a Dame for services to architecture. Zaha Hadid’s work is exciting because she developed a new form of architecture: she set architecture free by rejecting 90 degree angles. Her early abstract paintings are of particular interest because in them she began to create her visionary world where there is no definition, lines converge, and gravity disappears – all conceived before the advent of advanced computer software.  From her early sharp-angled buildings she developed a fluid architecture, where floors, ceilings, walls - and even furniture - all form part of the overall design. Thus many of her later structures are extruded to the most extreme organic shapes in what she called a “seemless fluidity”.  The lecture tells the story of this pre-eminent architect. We move around the world to look at some of her completed works, including her most famous building in the UK, the Aquatics Centre for the London Olympics in 2012, as well as unexecuted designs. Members who have a keen interest in cutting-edge design will be mesmerised by the daring yet brilliant structures of Dame Zaha Hadid. Zaha Hadid Architects own web site Guardian article on Zaha Hadid 15 January – Leslie Primo FOREIGNERS IN LONDON 1520-1677: THE ARTISTS WHO CHANGED THE COURSE OF BRITISH ART Why were foreigner painters preferred by the aristocracy in London to native-born English painters, why did foreigners come in the first place, what was their motivation, and what was the impact of foreigners in London on English art and art practise? The lecture will look at the various formats and uses of art, tracing foreign artists from the Tudor period through to the Renaissance and Baroque, looking at their origins and how they came to work in England. It will examine the contributions of artists such as Holbein, Gerrit van Honthorst, Marcus Gheeraerts the younger, Lucas and Susanna Horenbout, Isaac Oliver, Paulus van Somer, van Dyck, Peter Lely, and Rubens. This lecture will look at how these artists influenced the British School of painting and assess their legacy. Short Bibliographic Reading List: Campbell, Caroline, (Ed) Peter Lely: A Lyrical Vision, (The Courtauld Gallery, 2012) Finaldi, Gabriele (Ed), Orazio Gentileschi at the Court of Charles I, (Museo de Bellas Atres de Bilbao, 1999) Foister, Susan, Holbein in England, (Tate Publishing, 2006) Hearn, Karen, Marcus Gheeraerts II Elizabethan Artist: In Focus (Tate Publishing, 2002) Hearn, Karen (Ed), Van Dyck & Britain, (Tate Publishing, 2009) Jaffé, David, with Ede, Minna Moore, Rubens: A Master in the Making, (National Gallery Company Ltd, 2005) Waterhouse, Ellis, Painting in Britain 1530-1790 (Yale University Press, 1994) There were no lectures in December. 6 November – Gillian Hovell DIGGING DEEPER IN POMPEII WITH THE 'MUDDY ARCHAEOLOGIST' A wider look at the many kinds of art found in the homes and streets of Pompeii. A thoroughly modern world is revealed, one full of material goods and works of art, in which craftsmanship and artistry were draped around the Romans themselves and amidst their everyday lives. We explore how the Empire provided materials and the opportunity for this wealth of art to be accessible to more people than ever before. Its survival gives us a glimpse of the Roman Empire, in all its vastness, and reveals how Pompeii’s burial captured a moment in time when the Empire was a multicultural, vibrant and growing power that reached into the lives of everyone, rich or poor. Looking at the future for Pompeii 27 November – Sophie Oosterwijk SINNER OR SAINT? THE CHANGING IMAGE OF MARY MAGDALENE Who was Mary Magdalene? Western artists such as Hugo van der Goes, Donatello, Caravaggio and Titian depicted a bewildering variety of depictions of the saint: as an opulently dressed former courtesan holding a jar of ointment, but also as a repentant sinner, sometimes revealingly dressed yet clasping a skull and crucifix, or with her body entirely covered by hair. Guido Reni, Penitent Magdalene, c. 1635 The saint as we know her in the West is actually a conflation of four different female characters from the gospels, including the sister of Martha and Lazarus (Luke 10), the woman who was cured of seven demons (Luke 8), and the woman to whom the risen Christ first appeared (Mark 16). Mary Magdalene by Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys Moreover, there are also medieval legends, such as the story that she was the bride at the biblical wedding at Cana or that she travelled to France after the Crucifixion and ended her life in penitent seclusion in Provence. This lecture will explain the fascinating stories and startling depictions of this popular saint in western art. History of the image of Mary Magdalene BBC page on religion depiction of Mary Magdalene Visit to Burton Constable Hall and Ferens Art Gallery, Hull. Tuesday 23rd October 2018 Burton Constable Hall is a large Elizabethan country house with 18th and 19th century interiors, and a fine 18th century cabinet of curiosities. The Hall, a Grade I listed building, is set in a 300 acre park designed by Capability Brown. The Hall has been the home of the Constable family for over 400 years. During the eighteenth century William Constable elected to spend a fortune re-fashioning his house in the taste of the day.  A number of items were purchased from Thomas Chippendale for the Hall, and also for the Constable’s London House, which was later brought to Burton Constable Hall. 2018 is the three hundredth anniversary of Thomas Chippendale’s birth, and Burton Constable is one of a small number of venues taking part in the Chippendale 300 Festival. The Ferens Art Gallery is a well-regarded provincial gallery which hosts both a permanent collection and visiting exhibitions. 16 October – James Wright CASTLES OF NOTTINGHAMSHIRE Based on a four year research project, which culminated in a popular book on the subject (Nottinghamshire County Council 2008), Castles of Nottinghamshire looks in detail at the lesser known earthworks and ruins of lost castles and fortified manor houses in the county. The subject is set in the context of wider castle studies and focuses on both documentary sources and fieldwork to tell the often surprising story of aristocratic life in in Medieval Nottinghamshire. List of Castles & Houses in Nottinghamshire 1st Lecture of our new membership year. 18 September – Denise Heywood SACRED ART OF BURMA The temples, iconography, sculptures, textiles, dance performances, literature, landscapes and people of Burma are infused with the spirit of Buddhism. This gentle philosophy, preaching peace and serenity, has inspired some of the greatest art and architecture in the world, nowhere more so than in Burma, now known as Myanmar. This lecture shows the artistic glories of temples throughout the country, their spires, statues, carvings, murals and rituals. It illustrates the religious symbolism of exquisite textiles and compelling dance ceremonies. Background of Myanmar Background to Burma Buddhism After the AGM June 19th LINDA SMITH Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves: the Representation of the Working Classes in Art This lecture looks at ordinary working people: skilled and unskilled workers in both urban and agricultural environments, craftsmen, artisans, shopkeepers, domestic servants, entertainers, prostitutes, beggars, paupers, slaves. Throughout the history of western art, they have always been there: for centuries as mute observers, background detail or comic relief. But as the world changes, art changes, and this talk will discuss the move of low-life subject matter from the despised and vulgar fringes of popular taste into the respectable mainstream; and out again into political radicalism and avant- garde edginess. This Da Vinci drawing might be "Scaramuccia, king of the gypsies” Grayson Perry talking to the Telegraph about working class art Gypsies in art 23 May 2018 Visit to Hatfield House. The Rainbow Portrait at Hatfield House. 'Perhaps the most colourful Tudor portrait, full of inventive iconography.' Elizabeth holds a rainbow with the inscription “Non sine sole iris”, “No rainbow without the sun”, reminding viewers only the Queen’s wisdom can ensure peace and prosperity. Hatfield House web site May 15th DOMINIC RILEY Beautiful British Books (bookbinding) In this lecture Dominic tells the story of fine bindings in Britain over the last hundred years. The journey begins with William Morris and the Kelmscott Chaucer, possibly the last great book of the printed age. He will then show some of the amazing bindings from Sangorski and Sutcliffe, the finest bookbinders in the twentieth century, as well as work from their contemporaries. Dominic will then discuss the new world of Design Binding which emerged after the second world war, as modern design entered this ancient craft, and finish with examples from some of the best artistic bookbinders working today. One of the more elusive copies of the Chaucer is in a jewelled binding by Sangorski & Sutcliffe British Library web site on the Kelmscott Chaucer History of the Kelmscott Chaucer April 17th COLIN DAVIES Architecture, Music and the Invention of Linear Perspective In his dissertation on architecture, Leon Battista Alberti – the original ‘Renaissance man’ – wrote: ‘We shall therefore borrow all our rules for the fixing of proportions from the musicians’. It is not surprising that the question of proportion should be an important theme in Alberti’s book, but how did the musicians get involved? It turns out that there is a mathematical link between visible proportions and audible proportions, or harmony, and that Renaissance architects were well aware of this link. They saw it as proof that their architecture could participate in the harmony of the whole cosmos. One of them, Filippo Brunelleschi, took the idea further in his invention of ‘linear perspective’ and thereby, incidentally, revolutionised western painting.  Church of Santo Spirito in Florence (1434-82) by Brunelleschi Filippo Brunelleschi’s Linear Perspective Linear Perspective in Painting On 27 March 2018  Study Day Morning plus lunch. Toby Faber Fabergé Eggs  2 lectures and a buffet lunch £28.00 Before the Revolution: Between 1885 and 1916, Carl Fabergé made fifty jewelled eggs – Easter presents from Russia’s last two emperors to their wives. They have become the most famous surviving symbols of the Romanov Empire: both supreme examples of the jeweller’s art and the vulgar playthings of a decadent court. Given almost total artistic freedom, Fabergé and his designers had to conform to only three rules: that each year’s Easter present should be egg- shaped, that it should contain some surprise to amuse or delight its recipient, and that it should be different from any predecessor. The result was a series of creations demonstrating ingenuity and creativity for which there are few parallels in any other field. After the Revolution: These eggs have become the most famous surviving symbols of the Romanov Empire: both supreme examples of the jeweller’s art and the vulgar playthings of a decadent court. After going missing in the Revolution, most of the eggs re-emerged in the store- rooms of the Kremlin, where they were immediately identified as a source of much-needed foreign exchange. Their subsequent history holds up a mirror to the twentieth century and encompasses Bolsheviks and entrepreneurs, tycoons and heiresses, con-men and queens. Eggs have been sold and smuggled, stolen and forged. Now, as they return to Russia, their history – like that of Russia itself - seems to have come full circle. Then there are the eight eggs which remain missing….  The lecture is illustrated with pictures of the eggs today and their owners, and with archival material showing some of the missing eggs. Great web site showing the eggs in detail March 20th JAMES RUSSELL Georgia O'Keeffe in New Mexico This colourful lecture explores the relationship between an extraordinary American painter and an equally remarkable place: the picturesque state of New Mexico. Having visited the mountain art colony of Taos for the first time in 1929, she moved permanently to New Mexico after World War II. Fascinated by the mountains and desert, adobe churches and sun-bleached bones, and above all by the brilliant light and vast skies of the state they call the Land of Enchantment, O’Keeffe painted constantly. She was a fearless explorer, setting off alone into the empty landscape in a battered old car, and a tremendous character. Drawing on my own twenty-year- long experience of New Mexico and an archive of personal photographs and reminiscences, this lecture brings to life one of America’s greatest artists, and one of its most beautiful places. Click here for the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum History of Georgia O’Keeffe February 20th STEVE KERSHAW The Elgin Marbles It is now around 200 years since the purchase of the so-called 'Elgin Marbles' from Lord Elgin, by the British Parliament. This lecture, beautifully illustrated with specifically taken slides and video, will explore the aesthetics, the back-story, and the heated debates surrounding these fascinating and controversial works of ancient Greek art: what do we mean by 'the Elgin Marbles'? How and why were they originally created? Why are they so highly regarded? What happened to them between their creation and Elgin's time? How did he acquire them? Why are they now in the British Museum? And why are there such passionately held views both for and against their repatriation to Greece?   Background to the Elgin Marbles British Museum page on the Elgin Marbles January 16th 2018 SARAH COVE Constable – From Chocolate Box to Jackson Pollock Constable's “six-footers” include some of his most famous and iconic paintings: The White Horse (1819) right, The Haywain (1821), The Leaping Horse (1825) and Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows (1831). Their compositions were derived from small pencil drawings and oil studies and for each Constable painted a full-size oil sketch.  These “six-foot” sketches were unique and extraordinary creations in the early 19th century and were unseen by all but his family and closest friends during his lifetime. This lecture is based on Sarah's extensive research on Constable's oil painting practice carried out over 30 years of the Constable Research Project. Constable's dynamic late works and artistic temperament are brought to life in a new and exciting manner revealing a “Jackson Pollock of the 1830s. Web site designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome, Handshake Computer Training
The Arts Society Grantham
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