The Signature Work, Fame and the Celebrity Endorsement
A large body of work in world museums has no names attached to it and we will try to ascertain why this is the case. We will look at how artists’ names have been attached to works that have no signature and then look at works where the attachment of the artist’s name and endorsements by others have become an important part of the work itself.
The Rise of the Divine Michelangelo, Fame within his own Lifetime
Why did Michelangelo actively pursue fame and celebrity and how did he do it? We will see how he used his earliest pieces and celebrity endorsements to promote himself and his art. These aspects will be explored through some of his most iconic works placing them in their historical, social and political context.
From Unknown to Fame, to Infamy and Ridicule, Caravaggio and Bernini
Two of the most seminal artists of the Baroque period – Bernini and Caravaggio – will be contrasted in this lecture. Both rose to fame during their lifetimes but their reputations crashed and burned during those lifetimes. How did they rise so rapidly and how did they descend equally rapidly? What can this tell us about the nature of fame and celebrity? We will look at the motivation of their patrons as well as those of the artists and consider how these aspects affected their works.
From Rags to Riches to Rags, Rembrandt and Vermeer
How could two artists be so well known, famous and wealthy yet die penniless? Arguably the two most famous Dutch artists are Rembrandt and Vermeer; their work output, their rise to fame and their celebrity status not only during their lifetime but up to the present day in Amsterdam and Delft will be explored. We will begin by setting the scene for the boom of Dutch painting, followed by a look at their early lives and work and explore the meaning behind these works.
Fame and Adulation, The South Pacific Voyages of Captain Cook
A venture into the South Pacific to explore fame and celebrity in the 18th century through the voyages of Captain Cook will take us to the discoveries of Joseph Banks. What were the motivations that drove British explorers to venture halfway across the world into the unknown? We will look at the art, artists and literature associated with this period and how this informed the attitude of both artists and explorers. We will also look at how the making of and dissemination of the celebrity portrait was integral to the promotion and success of those that embarked on these missions.
Dido Elizabeth Lindsay Belle, The most famous black woman in London and the Beginnings of the Abolition of Slavery
We continue with our 18th century theme, with an exploration of the life of Dido Elizabeth Lindsay Belle, a black woman, depicted in just one painting by Johann Zoffany. We will look at her birth and origins, explore her fame and notoriety and her ambiguous place in society at the time of the burgeoning anti-slavery movement.
Fame, Celebrity and Caricature the 18th Cartoon in English High & Low Society
Now we see the beginnings of the backlash against celebrity. The weapon of choice that would lead this onslaught was the illustration or to give it its common name – the cartoon. We will look at the early proponents of this genre and also the much more well known illustrators, such as James Gillray, George Cruikshank, Thomas Rowlandson and William Hogarth. Of course, caricature of the rich and famous was not new and this lecture will look back to its origin, before going on to show how this varied genre could not exist without the oxygen of celebrity, especially celebrities behaving badly.
Internationalism and Commercialism, The Pre-Raphaelites & Fame in the Modern World
This final lecture takes us again into the 19th century to explore the rise of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and how they embraced commercialism and advertising to enhance their fame and fortunes. These aspects will be explored through key emblematic works, such as The Death of Ophelia, 1851–2, The Light of the World, 1853–54 and Bubbles, 1886, to demonstrate how the motivation of these artists affected their works.