SEASON OCTOBER 2018 – MAY 2019
ALL LECTURES START AT 19.30AM PROMPT.
ALEXANDRA EPPS : AS GOOD AS GOLD – A SPECIAL LECTURE IN CELEBRATION OF THE ARTS SOCIETY’S GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY
Experience the story of gold and its significance and symbolism within the history of art – as the colour of the sun; the colour of divinity; the colour of status and the colour of love.
From creations ancient and contemporary, sacred and profane – all that glitters is certainly gold.
21ST NOVEMBER 2018
CLYDE BINFIELD : A GALAXY OF STARCHITECTS
Santiago Calatrava, Terry Farrell, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Jean Nouvel, I.M.Pei, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers: all these are starchitects.
Starchitects are stratospheric. Their buildings straddle the world, if not as yet the universe. Their practices are vast and vastly cosmopolitan. Their creations are hailed as iconic and cutting-edge.
Cities have been energised by them. Design has been stamped by them. Perhaps…. but what about the quality? And whence came they? Who was the first starchitect? Le Corbusier? Frank Lloyd Wright? And are we about to see the last of them as personality implodes into team anonymity and explodes into a mass of initials? Who knows? Here, as lecture or study day, I offer an opportunity for due reflection on a Galaxy of Starchitects.
BRIAN HEALEY : FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE
Following the changes that came about through the auspices of the ‘Peredvizhniki’ movement, the focus of Russian painting changed from academic rigour to the many moods and characteristics of the Russian landscape itself. No longer would this merely provide a background to lofty themes, but would itself take centre stage, capable of telling its own story as powerful and as moving as any historical or mythological drama. Artists such as Savrasov and Levitan, Shishkin and Kuindzhi to name but a few, found a haunting and elegiac beauty in this hitherto neglected but vast subject matter.
From her majestic forests and moonlit marshlands, her snowbound villages, gigantic skies, endless horizons and unstoppable rivers, artists such as these from the latter half of the 19th century distilled the very essence of the Russian landscape and gave it a voice we have only just begun to appreciate.
Sponsor – The family of the late Solomon Seruya OBE
ANNE SEBBA : THE DOLLAR PRINCESSES: AMERICAN WOMEN WHO MARRIED INTO THE EUROPEAN ARISTOCRACY AND WHOSE WEALTH HELPED PRESERVE HOUSES AND ESTATES
Between 1870 and 1914 hundreds of American heiresses flooded the shores of continental Europe, trading fortunes for titles.
They were known as The Dollar Princesses and included Consuelo Vanderbilt at Blenheim and Mary Curzon at Kedleston. These marriages – dubbed by some as gilded prostitution – were usually hard-headed matches plotted by the parents. They may have kept many a grand estate from collapsing but few provided lasting happiness when the fairy tale was exposed.
This lecture examines the clothes, the portraits, the jewels and the literature of The Dollar Princesses.
ANDREW PRINCE : FROM DOWNTON TO GATSBY
For the series Downton Abbey, Andrew was commissioned to produce many jewels for the main characters, and this inspired him to create a talk based on Downton and the changing styles of the time portrayed.
Jewellery and Fashion are often seen as two entirely separate and distinct fields of design, but this is very far from the case.
In his talk Andrew guides you through the extraordinary periods and events between 1890 and 1929, where the great fashion houses collaborated with the finest of jewellers to produce works of art of outstanding quality and glittering opulence. Along with this he discusses the clients and patrons who commissioned the jewels and how they were worn with the sumptuous gowns.
HARRY FLETCHER : THE CIRCUS: HOW ARTISTS HAVE DEPICTED IT OVER THE CENTURIES
I view the circus across the centuries, through the eyes of artists such as Seurat, Degas, Lautrec, Tissot, Sickert, Chagall, Hopper, Picasso, Leger, Calder and Cindy Sherman. Clowns, acrobats and trapeze artists were their most popular subjects. I explain how the artists became fascinated by the experience and how it affected them.
You will meet Degas’ Miss Laia, acrobat and trapeze artist, who in 1879 was raised to the trapeze by her teeth. Cha-U-Kao, dancer, clown and acrobat, enchanted Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Confined to a mental hospital in Neuilly for three months in 1899, Lautrec drew about 40 circus scenes from memory. The lively style, remarkable detail and the meticulous execution of the drawings resulted in his “liberation” from the hospital.
The arrival of the Cirque Medrano in Montmartre, was a catalyst for the change of Picasso’s work from “The Blue Period” to “The Rose Period”. Laura Knight was given special permission to paint Bertram Mills’ star performers during rehearsals and backstage. A splendid time is guaranteed for all. You will be on the edge of your seat!
JAMES LINDOW : HOME IS WHERE THE ART IS: THE RENAISSANCE PALACE INTERIOR
This lecture demonstrates the distinct contribution the urban palaces of Renaissance Italy made towards the development of the visual arts.
Significantly many of the paintings, sculptures and decorative objects from this period were originally intended for the domestic interior. While a number of the great palace facades survive largely intact, their interiors have been lost or remain at best greatly altered, since the fifteenth century.
Examining diverse visual and written sources, together with surviving objects, the opulence of the Renaissance palace interior is vividly recreated using the speaker’s extensive research from his scholarly book, The Renaissance Palace in Florence: Magnificence and Splendour in Fifteenth-Century Italy.
JACQUELINE COCKBURN : THE GREAT VELÁZQUEZ AT COURT IN MADRID
When Velázquez moves to Madrid his life changes and so does his art.
This lecture will consider his time at court, his subjects and his development as a great artist. It will end with a discussion of his work Las Meninas. This painting with its extraordinary use of perspective will be unravelled in terms of the artist’s own life and wishes and his relationship with the Monarchy at the time.