Season October 2017 – May 2018
18 October 2017
David Cross : Peter Paul Rubens, Colour, Creativity, Diplomacy and Collecting.
Tall, handsome, courteous and bearded, Rubens (1577-1640) was the greatest artist in Europe during the Baroque era. Based in Antwerp, he moved in the highest circles in Italy, Spain, England and the Netherlands. Knighted by both Philip IV of Spain and Charles I of England, he was successful equally as an artist and a diplomat. This Prince of Painters, who ran a busy studio, was also the master of the great Van Dyck. As a brilliant draughtsman, he covered the range of genres and among his vast output were voluptuous Venuses and numerous other exuberant canvases featuring the range of classical mythology. His altarpieces were in great demand during the Counter Reformation; his portraits are well observed; his landscapes are memorable and his works appear in numerous major collections. An early internationalist, he said: ‘I regard all the world as my country’. This lecture will explore his rich palette, his lively handling and the sheer brilliance of his textures. Furthermore, Rubens was a scholar, a linguist and an enthusiastic collector of gems, coins, cameos and sculpture, in which he manifested an intense sense of beauty. His treasures alone earn him a place in art history.
15th November 2017
Stephen Duffy : The Wallace Collection
When the Wallace Collection was bequeathed to the British nation in 1897 it was believed that it contained twelve paintings by Rembrandt. In the following decades, however, most of these paintings were re-attributed to other artists, to the extent that by 1992, when the last full catalogue of the Collection’s Dutch paintings was published, it was thought that there was only one genuine work by Rembrandt – the wonderful portrait of the artist’s son Titus. Since then further work on four of the other paintings has suggested that they are also wholly or partly by the master. This talk tells the fascinating story of how connoisseurship changes and the impact this has on how we look at works of art.
13th December 2017
Nicole Mezey : The Woman who Ate her Husband: The ‘Mona Lisa’ and the Art of Leonardo
The ‘Mona Lisa’ is both mesmerising and tantalising. So much about it is mysterious, but one thing is clear: in a life studded with unfinished projects, this was one which Leonardo not only completed, but kept with him until his death, because in it he addressed and realised so many of the themes which are at the core of his work. This lecture examines the Mona Lisa itself but also uses it to explore and understand the genius of Leonardo da Vinci.
17th January 2018
Lars Tharp (Antiques Road Show presenter): Dragons Claw – Signs and meanings of Chinese Art
Nothing in Chinese art is just what it appears to be: five bats are not just bats; bamboo not just bamboo; a peach not merely a peach, nor a vase just a vase. Chinese language allows the same word, or rather, sound (homophones), to several possible meanings, giving rise to verbal-visual puns which elude the non-Chinese speaker. Of China’s many symbols, the most potent is The Dragon. I unravel hidden meanings and finish with a one of my most exciting discoveries: a clutch of imperial dragons taken down a peg – how, why and when?
21st February 2018
Tom Duncan: Romans Moors and Christians: Andalucía and its Golden Age
Celts, Romans, Christians, Visigoths and Arabs have left their imprint on Iberia. Most vivid reminders are in their great cities, showing a fusion of culture and architectural styles. This lecture will reveal the layers that make up this complex building and artistic history, from the earliest settlement to the fall of Granada and the end or Moorish rule in 1492.
Sponsor: The family of the late Solomon Seruya OBE
21st March 2018
Doug Gillen: Hidden Canvasses: Street Art and the City
There’s more to the world of street art than Banksy. Hidden Canvases is a beginner’s guide to the biggest art movement since pop art. From train writing in New York to interactive technology that brings murals to life, the concept of un-commissioned public art is a very different beast to that which it once was. Hidden Canvases explores the key stages in street art’s growth examining the different elements and styles that comprise the scene with no rules. From the international superstars to the local underground heroes you’re guaranteed to leave knowing your Invader from you Aryz and who knows you might even start looking at the world a little differently.
18th April 2018
Peter Warwick: Russian Apocalypse: The Tragedy of the last Romanovs
(2018 centenary of the assassination of Nicolas II and his family) This lecture describes the collapse of Czarist Russia and the murder of the Nicholas II and his family, a story told in part through the innocent eyes of his young son, Czarevitch Alexei, and teenage daughters, the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, using their drawings, paintings and photographs.
Sponsor: Church & Co (Gibraltar) Limited
16th May 2018
Nicola Moorby: Turner vs Constable: The Great British Paint-Off
This is the story of the epic rivalry between the two giants of British art, J.M.W. Turner and John Constable. As unlike in background and temperament as their paintings were in style, these two creative geniuses transformed the art of landscape. This lecture sets them head-to-head and examines their differences, their similarities, their battles and their shared triumphs. But who will ultimately be crowned star painter? As well as giving an overview of Turner and Constable, the lecture provides an enjoyable overview of the British art world during the nineteenth century.