15 January 2013 - 19 March 2013
The story of an unforgettable meeting is always a gift for artists and writers alike. This well-illustrated weekly series will bring us face to face with paintings, poetry and fiction in which fame, beauty, myth, history and the human spirit bring people together in such dramatic circumstances that they, and we, are left thinking that never before have we seen, or read, anything quite like it.
Lecturer: Graham Fawcett
The London Course: London in the 18th Century
26 September 2012 - 20 March 2013
The recovery of London after the Great Fire expanded at a rapid pace. As the city at the heart of the Age of Enlightenment, it was a consumer society par excellence with wealth and squalor side by side. It was a rough and ready time, elegant and refined: a time of passionate preaching and riotous disorder. This is the time of Robert Adam, Canaletto, William Hogarth and the Mob, and the course will illustrate the life that Londoners lived in every stratum of society.
Lecturer: Geoffrey Toms
Renaissance Art at the Crossroads: Italy and the Netherlands
25 September 2012 - 27 November 2012
The impact of Netherlandish painting, founded by Jan van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden, was so profound in Italy that it changed the direction of Italian Renaissance art.
From Filippo Lippi to Raphael, Italian painters switched from egg tempera to the Netherlandish technique of painting in oils, adopted the northern approach to portraiture, emulated the depiction of light, texture and other illusionistic effects, and even copied landscape backgrounds from imported northern altarpieces. In the 15th century this influence travelled almost exclusively in one direction from north to south.
However, in the 16th century this direction was effectively to reverse as the works of Michelangelo and other Italian masters caught the imagination of Netherlandish artists and their patrons (from Gossaert ultimately to Rubens). In studying this cultural cross-fertilisation in the 15th and 16th centuries this course draws on more recent scholarship that has caused a major re-evaluation of Renaissance art. Cutting across national boundaries and the boundaries existing in traditional art history the course tells a newly-emerging story, with even well-known art works being seen from a fresh perspective.
Lecturer: Richard Williams
Courts and Monarchs
4 October 2012 - 28 February 2013
Courts can be defined as ruling dynasties, their households and palaces. Until 1918 they were keys to power and creativity, and to the growth of countries, cities and armies. Dynastic marriages helped create Spain out of Castile and Aragon, Britain out of England and Scotland. In the nineteenth century the Prussian monarchy and army conquered or united Germany, as the Piedmontese conquered or united Italy. For four centuries the Ottoman dynasty and its servants united the Balkans the Middle East and North Africa in the Ottoman Empire. In Courts and Monarchs Philip Mansel focuses on the dynamic role played by courts in Europe and the Middle East, particularly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Europe continued to be linked by networks of courts, and court cities, until 1914.
Lecturer: Philip Mansel
The Garden of Earthly Delights: Medieval Gardens and Their Meanings
11 October 2012 - 15 November 2012
The garden in medieval Europe was more than just a space where nature was cultivated and enjoyed. It was a cultural concept that existed as powerfully in the mind as it did in reality; a potent allegory for contemporary ideas about good and evil, filtered through a Christian consciousness. This course of 5 lectures explores the complex and sometimes contradictory range of meanings carried by the garden in medieval thinking. Sources are drawn from a wide range of medieval and early Renaissance imagery and include expressionistic Romanesque sculpture, exquisite illustrated manuscripts, glowing stained glass, sumptuous panel paintings and tapestries, backed up by references to contemporary music and poetry and a fledgling theatrical tradition.
Lecturer: Nicola Lowe
Love, Marriage and Desire in Art
19 October 2011 - 27 June 2012
The course looks across the centuries at how artists have explored the enduring themes of Romantic Love, Marriage and Desire in their works.
Lecturer: Marie-Anne Mancio
London Country Houses
25 April 2012 - 27 June 2012
Fine architecture and fascinating families in the great residences of what is still countryside in London today, coupled with the splendid further survival of the designers best work in the heart of London.
Lecturer: Geoffrey Toms
29 May 2012 - 26 June 2012
Seen from the air, Venice may seem compact enough to be explored high and low in a weekend. Besides, thanks to Canalettos clarity and the occasional signs to San Marco and Accademia, we think we can home in on all the treasures with a guide-book and a map.
So how do you account for the feeling that the “real” Venice is the one you see when youre lost? Exactly. But how can you find it on purpose? With a tip-off or two, its easy to find because in this labyrinthine city the unknown is often one small bridge away from the famous. Hidden Venice takes the wraps off five of these quite well kept secrets, each of them easily missed and all of them guardians of art.
Lecturer: Graham Fawcett
Talking Pictures, Sounding Sense
24 April 2012 - 22 May 2012
When narrative in literature and poetry has the capacity to inspire the eye and ear with equal force, composers and painters alike are found rushing to re-deliver that impact in the language of paint and music. This is how it looks, they say, or, this is how it sounds; and what they say suggests that music and art created from the same poem or story can often reward our attention to both of them at once. Talking Pictures, Sounding Sense will offer some striking examples of this from both art and music. Here are five especially memorable moments when painters and composers (sometimes more than one of each) have met like moths round the candle-flame of the same narrative.
Lecturer: Graham Fawcett
The World's First City: The Legacy and Life of Victorian London
28 September 2011 - 21 March 2012
How did people live in the great Imperial City? 1837-1901 was a period of radical change: suburbs, industry, commerce, speed, immigration and new lifestyles. Despite the emergence of a solid middle class, there were appalling divisions in the class structure. But so outstanding was progress that much of Victorian achievement remains the infrastructure of London today.
Lecturer: Geoffrey Toms
Look Here Upon This Picture, Then on This
1 - 29 November 2011, 21 February - 20 March 2012
Hamlet’s demand to his mother, that she hold his dead father’s picture in one hand, and new husband Claudio’s in the other, becomes our cue: Look Here Upon This Picture, Then On This is a weekly opportunity to compare works of art from the world’s great gallery of homage to Shakespeare’s plays. Here, in painting after painting, artists have felt driven to recreate the enduring charisma of the Bard’s most famous characters and so celebrate the dramatic turning-points in the plays which changed lives then and have done so ever since for theatre-goers and readers alike. Opera and music will make guest appearances each week too.
Lecturer: Graham Fawcett
The Giants of the Baroque
17 January 2012 - 14 February 2012
In the first half of the seventeenth century the style that appeared in Rome would dominate European taste for the next one hundred years: the Baroque. Among the painters, sculptors, and architects of the Roman Baroque, six were particularly influential: Annnibale and Agostino Carracci, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Gian-Lorenzo Bernini, Pietro da Cortona and Francesco Borromini. Their careers were propelled by popes and cardinals born into powerful families: the Farnese, Borghese, Pamphilj, Barberini, and Chigi.
Lecturer: Marie-Anne Mancio
The Thread of Life
27 September 2011 - 25 October 2011
From earliest antiquity to the present day, artists have depicted women spinning, weaving and sewing indicating their intimate association with textile arts. But how close is this to reality? Why does the image persist in the face of social change? Is the distaff an emblem of empowerment or imprisonment? Using examples that range from the Paleolithic Venus of Willendorf to Vermeer’s Lacemaker and today’s mass media we unpick the tangled threads of this ubiquitous motif and explore its complex range of meanings.
Lecturer: Nicola Lowe
22 September 2010 - 29 June 2011
The Latin word revelation means 'unveiling' and specifically the unveiling of truths concerning destiny and the intentions of the gods. Man has sought revelation since the earliest times and has used an infinite number of ways to achieve it including augury, astrology, starvation and drug use.
In this fascinating and far-reaching series of lectures, we'll study the nature of revelation in the ancient and modern worlds and the look at the arts it has inspired.
Lecturer: Margaret Knight
The Model and the Muse
29 September 2010 - 22 June 2011
With its rich, diverse and cultural history, London has attracted artists, musicians and writers from all over the world for centuries. And each one has left an extraordinary record of the London they knew.
In this unique series of lectures, walks and visits youll discover the historical significance of the artist's subject matter and how the great artists, in their own style, depicted the grandeur and miniscule intimacy of life in a great world city.
Lecturer: Geoffrey Toms
The History of Modernity: From Bars to Stars and Stripes
31 May 2011 - 28 June 2011
With everyday subject matters, innovative painterly styles, and a new approach to spatial relationships, the 1860s heralded the beginnings of modernity and a new role for the modern artist.
In this provocative and illuminating series of lectures well deconstruct the work of 19th century artists such as Courbet and Manet - considered to be the first modernist painter - through to the works of Rothko and De Kooning in 1950s America.
Lecturer: Stephen Nelson
Transforming the Masterpiece
15 February 2011 - 15 March 2011
By sifting through centuries of great European art, Transforming the Masterpiece will find answers to the question: what exactly have artists been letting themselves in for when they rework in visual imagery some of the greatest poems and stories ever written?
Is it an act of homage, or rivalry, or translation, or all three at once? And when a poet takes on a painting, is the artistic challenge the same, only in reverse?
Each of the sessions will start by looking through a handful of paintings, holding them up in turn next to the story or poem which inspired them all, and then, by giving even closer attention to one of them, decide whether it is worth more to us as a version of the original or as a masterpiece in its own right.
Lecturer: Graham Fawcett
Archaeology at the British Museum
27 January 2011 - 10 March 2011
With over 8 million objects from every culture, the British Museum is one of worlds leading national museums. But with over 70 galleries to choose from it's easy to miss some of its less well-known, yet still fascinating, treasures.
In this series of tours, we take the time to look at some of these objects and artefacts in greater detail and focus on the museum's outstanding archaeological materials in the Roman Empire, Roman Britain and early Britain and Europe galleries.
Lecturer: Geoffrey Toms
Town and Country: The Life of an Italian Prince
21 September 2010 - 8 February 2011
What transformed the daily life of a Renaissance Prince from the misery of a dank castle to a civilised environment full of light, culture and the arts?
In this rich and varied series of lectures, well unravel the lives of ten great families, whose histories take us from the late 15th century to the mid 17th century and from the city to the country. You'll have the opportunity to study Italian gardens, art, architecture and sculpture, as well as gem collecting, music and poetry.
Lecturer: Nick Ross, Federico Botana and Dan Evans
26 October 2010 - 23 November 2010
The Art of Dante's Divine Comedy. Described by T.S. Eliot as 'the highest point that poetry has ever reached or ever can reach', Dante's epic poem Divine Comedy, describing a journey through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, has been a rich source of inspiration for generations of artists, poets, sculptors and illustrators.
In this series of lectures well discover how Dante's poem has influenced the likes of Botticelli, Salvador Dali, John Flaxman, Gustave Dore and William Blake; and how Dantes tales of love and the grotesque has influenced their work.
Lecturer: Graham Fawcett
Three Ways Of Looking At The World
23 September 2009 - 9 June 2010
How humankind has searched for ways to explain and understand the world, its inhabitants and its place in universal order.
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30 September 2009 - 23 June 2010
The London of Charles Dickens, The Archaeology of London and 'The Silvery Thames' - a celebration of the many faces of London's great river.
21 September 2009 - 15 February 2010
Istanbul, City of the World's Desire: the story of Constantinople from its founding by Constantine the Great, its life as the capital of the Byzantine Empire and its renaissance as Ottoman Istanbul. Art goes to the movies: Two study days of lectures and film clips which explore some of the ways in which the film industry has depicted artists and how the visual arts have influenced the design of movies.
From Model To Maker
22 September 2009 - 22 June 2010
Three linked programmes which examine the relationships between women and the arts. The Muse and the Ideal: How and why women have been idealised in art from the time of Classical Greece and how these ideas have persisted into the 21st century. Real Women: Why artists have chosen to present unidealised images of women and what these images imply. Women as Makers: This programme looks at the art and design made by women who have been working in the visual arts since the 19th century.
The Great Collections
15 September 2008 - 18 May 2009
London acquired her great public museums and galleries in the 19th century; - The British Museum, begun in the 1820s, The National Gallery in 1840, The Victoria and Albert in 1856 and The Tate in 1897. This programme of linked lectures and visits tell the stories behind the collections and the buildings made to house them.
The Art Of Power & The Power Of Art
16 September 2008 - 23 June 2009
The visual arts can be expressions of power and authority and of rebellion against authority. This lecture series examines the ways in which art can be used to affirm and undermine power. From displays of cultural supremacy, to social control and manipulation, and international propaganda, art is used to assert the power of nations and cultural groups. It can also be used to criticise and undermine, sometimes using guerrilla tactics to do so. We will explore key moments in our history from the ancient world to the present when art has been at the service of power and revolution.
24 September 2008 - 17 June 2009
It is becoming a commonplace that religious differences are responsible for some of the insoluble divisions in the modern world. How did these situations arise, were they inevitable or were they the result of political expedience? This lecture series examines ways in which intolerance is fostered and will ask if there can be any solutions.
Aspects of London
17 September 2008 - 27 June 2009
Geoffrey Tom's programme of lectures and visits reveals different faces of London. Term one looks at Regency London and term two considers great events that have affected the physical shape of the City. Term three concentrates on the city of Wren and his times.
Three Artists, Three Worlds
17 September 2007 - 16 June 2008
This programme of monthly lectures concentrates on the work of three artists, Donatello, Caravaggio and Seurat. Each one was an innovator and a great craftsman, and broke new ground for art while re- sponding to the social, religious and intellectual climate of his time. 'Three Artists, Three Worlds' will link the careers of these artists and the evolution of their respective visual languages to the very dif- ferent worlds in which they worked.
Roma - From the Fall to Fellini
18 September 2007 - 24 June 2008
Roma follows the story and the arts of the city from the late Empire to the 20th century. Few cities have experienced Rome's extremes of fortune; squalor and poverty in the early middle ages and great prosperity in the 8th and 9th centuries as she became the capital of the Christian west. Three hundred years of civil war and the loss of the papacy to Avignon brought poverty again followed by the wealth and splendour of the Renaissance and Counter Reformation. Even after the Church ceased to be a major patron, Rome remained a cultural power house, attracting artists of all kinds from across Europe. She survived Napoleon and the struggle for the unification of Italy to emerge as the capital of the new kingdom in 1870. Since then the city has had many roles, the Holy City, Mussolini's New Rome and the 'Hollywood of Europe' but in every case the past and the present are inextricably mixed, Rome remains the 'Eternal City'.
Concerning Belief - The Great Faiths
26 September 2007 - 11 June 2008
The late 15th century humanist scholars of Florence arrived at the conclusion that all Faiths were paths to an identical goal and that this truth was actually buried and hidden by the structures of organised religion. 'Concerning Belief ' will work with this premise by comparing the core ideas which inform the great faiths of the world and examining the ways in which those ideas developed in very different ways.
Three Aspects of London
19 September 2007 - 25 June 2008
Geoffrey Tom's programme of lectures and visits reveals three different faces of London. Term one looks at the city as it was in the time of Shakespeare and the development of the London theatre. Term two uses archaeological evidence to unveil the prehistoric and Roman city and Term three traces the development of suburbia and Metroland
Secret Languages - Hidden Meanings in Art
18 September 2006 - 25 June 2007
Often the complete meaning of a painting or sculpture is conveyed in details which might seem insignificant to the casual observer. To understand the meanings of these symbols and their origins adds immeasurably to the pleasure of reading art. 'Secret Languages' links lectures with visits to London galleries to study relevant works at first hand.
The Serene Republic - The Story of Venice and her Arts
19 September 2006 - 26 June 2007
At the height of her power in the 15th century Venice controlled a trading empire reaching from Northern Italy to the Eastern Aegean. This ruthless, wealthy and powerful city absorbed ideas from the east and the west to produce arts and architecture which were uniquely Venetian. 'The Serene Republic' will follow the fortunes of Venice, her rise and fall and the development of her sumptuous and exquisite visual arts.
The Development of Christianity and Christian Art
4 October 2006 - 15 November 2006
Christianity was one belief among many in the Roman world but by the fourth century AD it had become the religion of the empire and missionaries were beginning to take the Christian message beyond the imperial frontiers. From humble beginnings the Faith evolved complex and sometimes contentious doctrines and rich artistic languages. This short series of lectures examines some of the ways in which Christianity and Christian art developed from the 1st to the 16th centuries.
The London Course
27 September 2006 - 27 June 2007
Geoffrey Tom's programme of lectures and visits explored three different aspects of London. The 17th century city as it was known and described by Samuel Pepys. The supremely elegant London of the 18th century and in the third term, the Imperial City of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
A Handbook for Artists
26 September 2005 - 26 June 2006
The artists of the past were trained in the use of a variety of techniques and materials, some are still used but many have become redundant or else are used in quite different ways. This programme of lectures and demonstrations will give you some insights into the ways in which the artists of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the 17th and 18th centuries created their works.
The Story of India
20 September 2005 - 27 June 2006
In the third millennium BC. the Indian peninsula was home to one of the great civilisations of the ancient world. Fresh ideas brought by subsequent migrating and invading peoples contributed to cultures which were regarded with awe by the Greeks and the Romans. The Hindu and Buddhist faiths fascinated Western philosophers long before the time of Christ and the sophisticated scholarship, technology and art forms generated in the Indian cities had a lasting impact on European thought. This course is designed to give you some understanding of the great cultural and artistic achievements of India and their impact on the outside world.
'All That Has Been, And Is, And Shall Be'
21 September 2005 - 28 June 2006
This programme consists of three interrelated monthly courses, each is a separate study of aspects of the female principle in mythology and religion. They may be taken singly or in combination with one or both of the others to build a complete programme.
The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
22 September 2005 - 29 June 2006
We are accustomed to looking at the history of art as an evolution with new concepts constantly replacing the old. In fact some ideas have constantly informed western art and continue to do so in this century. This course traces some of these themes from their genesis to their modern manifestations.
The Arts of Pre Columbian America
27 September 2004 - 20 June 2005
Of the hundreds of Indian nations once living in the Americas, many were settled in permanent communities some of which were as large and sophisticated as any in the 16th century world and which shared trade and ideas along a vast network of land and water routes. These were complex social structures with highly skilled artisans, builders, farmers, mathematicians and doctors, an infinite variety of ways of life. This programme of lectures gives a brief introduction to the lost people and the arts of pre Columbian America.
The Arts of France
21 September 2004 - 21 June 2005
From the 17th century it was Paris which dominated the cultural life of France but long before the country was drawn together under the crown to become the most powerful European state, her provinces were producing rich and varied arts. This course explores the diversity of French art and culture and the ways in which the country came to be the arbiter of taste in the western world.
Older Than Time
29 September 2004 - 22 June 2005
A language of symbols has existed since humankind first began to make patterns and images and to tell stories. Some of these symbols exist in the arts of every culture and have been adapted and given fresh layers of meaning over the millenia. In this programme we will trace the roots of some of our most universal symbols and the ways in which they have evolved in the more recent cultures and arts of the world.
The Functions & Meanings of Architecture
23 September 2004 - 23 June 2005
Architecture is the most public of all western arts and was understood from the 15th century to be the central discipline of all artistic development. This course discusses the many roles required of architecture, the meanings of the architectural languages and the contexts in which they were used.
Art, Philosophy, Science & The Monastic Orders
29 September 2003 - 14 June 2004
It is generally known that the monasteries were the centres of learning in the early Middle Ages and that it was in the monastic libraries and scriptoria that vital texts were preserved and copied. What are less well understood are the roles played by the monastic and mendicant Orders in shaping thought and art in the Middle Ages, not only within the Church but across the wider spectrum of European learning and arts. This lecture series will examine the impact of some of the major Orders on the society of their time and the ways in which they may have contributed to modern attitudes.
Europa & The Barbarians, The Foundations of European Culture
23 September 2003 - 22 June 2004
The Greeks used the name 'Europa' to describe a vaguely defined mass of land west and north of the Mediterranean. To them and to the Romans the inhabitants were 'barbaraphonai', speakers of babble and inferior in every respect to the civilised inhabitants of the Mediterranean lands. So great was the impact of Greco Roman culture in Europe that it is easy to forget that anthing else existed and to assume that the destruction of the western Roman empire brought any cultural achievements to an end.
Born In The USA, The American Century
24 September 2003 - 23 June 2004
At the beginning of the 20th Century America was well on the way to becoming the wealthiest state in the world but it was still perceived by outsiders to be a country without any real culture. With very few exceptions, American artists and designers of the 19th century had been measured against their European contemporaries and found wanting. By the 1950s all of this had changed and America was at the cutting edge of the arts; a great dynamo which seemed capable of endless invention. No other country had the social and ethnic mix of the States.
The Triumph Of Albion, The Renaissance in England
25 September 2003 - 24 June 2004
When Henry VII, the first of the Tudors took the English crown in 1485, the old power structures of medieval Europe were already changing. Constantinople had fallen to the Ottomans in 1453, Italian dominance of international trade and banking was in decline and within Henry's own reign the discovery of the New World would change the patterns of trade and enterprise for ever. Under the Tudors and the Stuart monarchs who followed them, little England became a major player in the emerging political and commercial worlds.