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The Arts Society Oundle
PAST MEETINGS Here are details of our past meetings, to give you an idea of the variety and scope of the lectures. Also members might like to use the links to find out more. Friday 21st January 2022 projected at the hall on a screen and on Zoom 10.50 George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham: the handsomest man in 17th century Europe Lucy Hughes-Hallett George Villiers was the favourite of King James I, chief minister to King Charles I, and assassinated at the age of 35. He was a beauty, enjoyed exquisite clothes and was a discerning patron and collector of great paintings. We will look at the masterpieces he owned and at the portraits of himself he commissioned from painters including Van Honthorst, Van Dyck and Rubens – images by great artists of a man known as ‘the handsomestbodied man in Europe’. Friday 17th December 2021 on Zoom 10:50 The Christmas Story in Medieval Art Sally Dormer It was during the Middle Ages that many of the familiar elements of the Christmas story were devised and popularised: including the stable with the ox and ass. What were the sources for these images? This lecture, illustrated by pictures of illuminated manuscripts, church portals, liturgical vestments, stained glass windows and goldsmiths’ work, will tell the stories surrounding Christ’s birth and investigate their often surprising sources. We offer three free early evening Zoom sessions: Food for thought: Spanish, Dutch and Modern still life painting 9th November Daniel Evans 6pm by Zoom, with login from 5:50pm The links and connection details will be sent out the day before. The running order has changed from the Members booklet. The first lecture is - Caterpillars, lemons and lobsters: Dutch still life from 1560 to 1650 presented by Daniel Evans. When it comes to Dutch Flower paintings the only real expert in the field is quite literally, the insect that lives off the stems and petals. From Meat stalls to Mince Pies and Bubbles to Bread Rolls, this lecture will help you to discover the enormous symbolism that is conveyed by simple everyday objects, that have been rendered with breath taking accuracy and convey really satisfying moral meaning. Examining works by Claesz, Steenwyck, de Heen, Bosschaert, Van Aelst and Kalf : we shall explore the corruption of abundance, the mutability and ephemerality of life and the inevitability of death. Dan Evans is an educationalist with a passion for Art. Dan is a Housemaster at Cheltenham College and was formerly Head of History of Art at Wycombe Abbey School. He has been lecturing since 2001 and spent nine wonderful years working as a senior tutor for Art History Abroad. A long time ago he was voted the British winner of the World Guide of the Year Awards. Tuesday 9th November 2021, 6pm Cabbages, carrots and lamb: Spanish still life from 1600 to1812 Robert Hughes declared of Still life painting; ‘Still Life is to eating what the nude is to sex’ (we won’t go there I assure you!), although he did also admit that Spanish Still Life painting is ‘more sacramental than gastronomic’. The lecture will cover a cabbage that has been painted with such astonishing accuracy that the painted version is more alluring than the vegetable itself. Goya’s painting of a pile of 6 silvery fish, is a political commentary on the disasters of war. These bream have been abandoned on a beach in the middle of the night, left to rot in the sand, evidence of reckless waste at a time of famine. Through this and others paintings by Velazquez, Zurburán, and Meléndez, we shall explore several stunning key themes that can all be discerned from arrangements of simple food stuffs; religious fervour and symbolism, the absence of presence and that importance generates waste. Tuesday 23rd November 2021, 6pm Animal fur, telephones and apple cores: still life as real life in the 20th and 21st centuries The ‘lesser’ genre of Still Life painting was one of the vehicles that launched Modern Art in the 19th century, and the obsession continued into the subsequent century by Picasso, Dali and Oppenheim. Painting was replaced by the Object, often playing upon the established and traditional themes of old. Mortality, mutability and abundance can all be traced through the ground breaking ‘still life’ sculptures of Oldenburg, Taylor Wood and Hirst. Like the Still Life genre, in all its permeations, this talk will be an exuberant assault on the senses of taste, sight, sound, touch and smell. Friday 19th November 2021 on Zoom 10:50 Me, myself and I: self-portraiture through the ages Jacky Klein We look at the development of the self-portrait, from artists depicting themselves as gentlemen and thinkers in an age when their social status was low, to the 17th- century reframing of the artist as visionary, and to the modern cult of the artist-poet. Why did artists including Michelangelo, Dürer, Rembrandt and Reynolds relentlessly make images of themselves? And, looking at the work of Andy Warhol, Gavin Turk and Marc Quinn, we ask what it means to make self-portraits today in our image-saturated age of smartphones and selfies. Friday 15th October 2021 on Zoom The art of the Japanese garden: from tradition to modernity Marie Conte-Helm This lecture introduces us to the distinctive nature of Japanese garden design and to some of the country’s most famous gardens, from those on a grand scale surrounding aristocratic palaces and Buddhist temples to Zen-inspired dry landscape examples with their strikingly symbolic content. Looking at historical developments as well as religious and philosophical influences, we will see how nature and artifice are intriguingly combined to capture the very essence of the landscape. Friday 17th September 2021 10:30 for AGM on Zoom A crisis of brilliance: young British artists 1908 to 1919 David Haycock Students at the Slade School of Art in London before WW1 included some of the most important British artists of the first half of the twentieth century: David Bomberg, Dora Carrington, Mark Gertler, Paul Nash, CRW Nevinson, William Roberts, Stanley Spencer and Edward Wadsworth. Basing this lecture on his 2009 book on the topic, David Haycock explores the fascinating story of these artists’ work and interlocking lives. August 20th 11am on Zoom New Visions: The City & Impressionism Joanne Rhymer During the reign of Napoleon III, Paris expanded and transformed. Certain areas of the city were demolished to make way for new streets, apartments, and public buildings. The development of the railways drew ever larger numbers of visitors and workers to the capital. Department stores evolved and entertainments such as theatres and bars burgeoned providing employment and leisure opportunities. For artists, Paris was a dynamic artistic hub with international appeal and for the Impressionists, it provided rich pickings for making modern paintings. This lecture explores images of Paris seen through the artistic lens of Manet, Renoir, and Caillebotte. We consider how urban life was an inspiring theme which led them to experiment with painting techniques and motifs which ultimately changed the direction of art. This presentation also considers the extent to which the artists discussed might be termed ‘Impressionist’. Gustave Caillebotte - Paris Street; Rainy Day - Google Art Project Friday 18th June 2021 10.50am for 11am Red, White and Blue – a Story of Three Colours in Art Alexandra Epps A wide-ranging look at the symbolism, significance and spirituality of colour throughout the history of art. Experience the power of the red of the Tudors, the utopian white of Abstraction, and the secret formula of New Realism artist Yves Klein. Friday 21st May 2021 10.50am for 11am A Taste of Dutch Brian Healey Discover the coded messages that hide behind the wondrous banquet paintings of 16th century Holland. What looks like the leftovers from a wellto-do Dutch breakfast is on closer examination a statement about the perils of luxury and the precariousness and transience of life. None of which stops us from marvelling at the incredible level of detail and exquisite mastery of technique and structure that inspired Matisse and Dalí to produce their own 20th century versions. Friday 16th April 2021 10.50am for 11am The Prince and the Prophet: Tradition and Modernity in Architecture Colin Davies Criticism of modern architecture has come from public individuals including the Prince of Wales as well as philosopher Roger Scruton. This lecture will help us form our own reasoned opinions. We look at basic architectural concepts such as Classicism, Functionalism and Urbanism and discover that modernity and tradition are not just simple opposites: modernity has always depended on tradition; tradition has often contained a progressive spirit. Friday 19th March 2021 10.50am for 11am Art and Religion in Post-War Britain Monica Bohm-Duchen In the immediate post-war period the Church in Britain was keen to enlist contemporary artists to work in sacred spaces. Walter Hussey, Vicar of St Matthew’s Northampton, commissioned work by Henry Moore and Graham Sutherland; other major post-war projects included works for Coventry and Llandudno Cathedrals. We also look at more recent Cathedral commissions by artists including Bill Viola and Tracy Emin as well as other work with religious overtones produced for secular venues. ‘Islamic Art and Architecture’. The lecturer will be Professor James Allan, Professor Emeritus of Eastern Art, University of Oxford. The committee has agreed that there will be no extra charge to members for ‘attendance’ at these sessions. As in the previous Byzantine Art study day series, we will send a reminder before each study day. This will be followed by a separate email with the zoom link for logging on. ‘Islamic Art and Architecture’ – a series of three lectures Lecture 1: ‘Calligeofiguresques’ - Islamic Art and Design: (i) Arabic calligraphy. 10:00am - Tuesday 2nd February – Log-on from 9:50am Lecture 2: ‘Calligeofiguresques’ - Islamic Art and Design: (ii) Geometry, the Arabesque and Figural Art. 10:00am - Tuesday 9th February – Log-on from 9:50am Zoom link will be emailed on Monday 8th February. In the second lecture we shall look at geometry and the arabesque, following the latter into the range of floral designs current in later Islamic art. We shall see too how geometry and the arabesque combine to make highly intricate, but deeply satisfying, designs in a range of media. There is another element to Islamic art, however, figural art. It is mistakenly believed, both by Muslims and non-Muslims, that Islamic art is non-representational. We shall explore Islamic art’s figural side, and show how widespread figural art really is, even, most surprisingly, in some religious settings, highlighting sectarian divides in the Islamic world. Friday 19th February 2021 10.50am for 11am Frida Kahlo: A Life in Art Fiona Rose Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) was queen of the selfies long before Kim Kardashian. Recognised as one of the greatest female artists of the 20th century, she is known for her originality, bold use of colour, passion and courage, and as someone who created life and beauty in the face of great personal suffering and adversity. We look at her tumultuous life and extraordinary unflinching works. One of many portraits of Frida Kahlo inside the "Casa Azul", SantinoDeMarquishi CC BY-SA 4.0 Friday 15th January 2021 10.50am for 11am Great Tarts in Art: High Culture and the Oldest Profession Linda Smith 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, examining the portraits and careers of some of history’s most notorious mistresses and courtesans. It charts the complex attitudes towards these figures, and the changing ways they have been represented. Friday 18th December 2020 10.50am for 11am The Journey of the Magi: Origins, Myth and Reality – The True Story of the Three Kings Leslie Primo A welcome return by this ever-popular lecturer who will seek to unravel the myth and iconography behind the story of the adoration of the Magi, from its Eastern and pagan roots to its Christian interpretation. Illustrated with works by Bosch, Botticelli, Bruegel the Elder, Masaccio and Rubens, the talk considers what we want this story to mean and why we continue to value it in our largely secular Western society. Friday 20th November 2020 Raphael of Urbino: Artist and Architect Shirley Smith 2020 marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Raphael at the age of 37. In this lecture, we will study his art and architecture, from his early work in Urbino and Florence to its full maturity in Rome. On-line Study Day Helen Rufus-Ward Otherworldly Byzantium – Holy Places and Sacred Art This year, the study ‘day’ is being delivered as three separate, but linked, sessions on: Tuesday 10th November 2020, 10.00hrs Tuesday 17th November 2020, 10.00hrs Tuesday 24th November 2020, 10.00hrs The first session explores the 6th century architecture and art of St Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai. So, not an easy place to reach, even pre-Covid! Look out for the link to the zoom session which will be sent in a separate email. These sessions this year will be provided complementary to your membership fee. Friday 16th October 2020 English Women and the French Revolution Karin Fernald Early on during the French revolution, several dauntless English women visited Paris and reported on their experiences in their diaries and letters. We hear about their adventures and encounters in a very entertaining lecture, illustrated by contemporary French paintings. Friday 18th September 2020 Paradise Lost and Restored: 400 years of Garden Design in Oxfordshire Timothy Walker A fascinating look at the history of English garden design through the lens of one particular example – the Oxford Botanic Garden, founded in the early 17th century. Successive head gardeners over the centuries have followed garden fashion and botanic developments while remaining close to the fundamental motive of garden design – the desire to create Paradise on Earth. Friday 21st August - Dr Max Jones The Glorious Dead: Grief and Politics in memorials to the Great War. Six million Britons served in the armed forces during the Great War. One in eight perished. The legions of the bereaved launched a wave of commemorative projects, erecting thousands of memorials which still mark the landscape of countryside and city today. We will explore how artists developed new strategies to represent loss on an unprecedented scale, how bitter disputes scarred many projects, and how memorials helped families grieve for those they had lost. Friday 7th August - Nicola Moorby Looking over the Artist’s shoulder: The Italian Sketchbooks of J.M.W. Turner. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Italy was the country of every artist’s dreams. This lecture recreates a visual tour of Italy in the company of J.M.W. Turner. By studying rarely seen drawings from his travel sketchbooks we will take a