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Lectures start at 10.45am   

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Friday 25 September 2020 – Artists, Illness and Creativity

Lecturer: James Grant

It is well known that both physical and psychological illness can affect the creative process. Both can act as a stimulus but illness can also act as a major modifying influence on an artist’s perception of the world and on an artist’s creative output.This lecture seeks to explore this relationship in artists such as Durer, Goya, Monet and Kahlo in an endeavour to understand better how different illnesses impacted on their genius.

Friday 23 October 2020 – Raphael: Painter of Perfection

Lecturer: Paula Nuttall

Raphael was one of the greatest and most influential of all painters, a superstar even in his own lifetime, who remains a byword for classic perfection. This lecture surveys his life and work, from his origins in Urbino, his early years in Florence, his meteoric rise to fame at the papal court in Rome, to his sudden death at the height of his powers, aged only 37. We look at such masterpieces as the Vatican Stanze, the Sistine Madonna, the Transfiguration and the famous Vatican tapestries, charting his astonishing artistic evolution and explaining his importance in the history of art.

Friday 27 November 2020 – In the Kingdom of the Sweets

Lecturer: Nigel Bates

The Nutcracker has delighted audiences at Christmas for many decades yet it was deemed a failure at its first performances. We take a close look at how this well-loved ballet now takes its rightful place on stage and how the music of Tchaikovsky along with story-telling, design and dance all come together to make the most magical escape for young and old alike. Includes several performance video clips.

Friday 22 January 2021 – Pots and Frocks

Lecturer: Ian Swankie

Best known for his outlandish appearances dressed as his feminine alter ego, Claire, Grayson Perry is now a core part of the art establishment, a Turner Prize winner, Royal Academician, popular broadcaster and colourful character. He’s possibly one of the world’s best-known contemporary artists. His works of ceramics, textiles, tapestries and prints are highly sought after. Often controversial, he tackles difficult subjects in a poignant yet witty way and holds a mirror up to society. This talk will examine Grayson Perry’s work, his exciting and thought-provoking exhibitions, and the unique character inside the flamboyant frocks.

Friday 26 February 2021 – Lunaticks, Slavers and the Genteel: Portraits by Joseph Wright of Derby

Lecturer: Justin Reay

Although Joseph Wright of Derby was highly regarded as a portraitist by his peers, he is now better known as the artist of the Industrial Revolution. His unflattering studies of the leaders of industry and trade in the Midlands and Liverpool give a fascinating insight into the character needed to make a good living in a tough era.

Friday 26 March 2021 – Treasures of the Black Tent – Antique Tribal Rugs and Dowry Weavings of the Persian and Central Asian Nomads

Lecturer: Brian MacDonald

The lecture begins in Outer Mongolia in 5th Century BC and follows the 11th Century AD migrations from Turkmenistan into the Caucasus, Persia and Afghanistan. The lecture will introduce the nomadic tribes of these countries and their woven rugs, carpets and dowry bags, which illustrate the skill of the women who produced exquisite works of woven art whilst living and travelling in primitive conditions and hostile landscapes.

Friday 23 April 2021 – The Two Gustavs – Mahler and Klimt

Lecturer: Gavin Plumley

Gustav Klimt and his colleagues broke away from the Imperial-endorsed art institutions in Vienna in 1897 and founded the Succession. That was the same year that Gustav Mahler arrived to take charge of the Opera House in the city. This lecture asks what fundamentally links and, indeed, divides Klimt and Mahler.

Friday 28 May 2021 – The Genius of Antonio Stradivari

Lecturer: Toby Faber

Two hundred and fifty years after Antonio Stradivari’s death, his violins and cellos remain the most highly prized instruments in the world. Loved by great musicians and capable of fetching fabulous sums when sold, their tone and beauty are legendary. Every subsequent violin-maker has tried to match them. Not one has succeeded. How can that be?
This lecture explores that central mystery by following some of Stradivari’s instruments from his workshop to the present day. It is a story that travels from the salons of Vienna to the concert halls of New York, and from the breakthroughs of Beethoven’s last quartets to the first phonographic recordings. Toby Faber’s book, “Stradivarius: Five violins, one cello and a genius”, was described in The New York Times as ‘more enthralling, earthy and illuminating than any fiction could be.’
The lecture is illustrated with pictures of violins and of key individuals and locations, as well as with some short musical recordings.

Friday 25 June 2021 – The Extraordinary Life of Misia Sert – Queen of Paris 1877 to 1950

Lecturer: Julian Halsby

Misia Sert was a virtuoso pianist of Polish descent who hosted an artistic salon in Paris. She was a patron and friend of numerous artists, Toulouse–Lautrec, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, and Renoir who wanted to paint her nude. She knew Debussy and Ravel who dedicated several pieces to her. A close confidant and friend to Coco Chanel, Misia was at the heart of modern art and music in Paris.

Friday 23 July 2021 – Provenance Matters – Mass Faking of the Russian Avant-Garde

Lecturer: James Butterwick

This lecture takes us through the huge surge of interest in the Russian avant-garde. Previously unknown artists became famous and much sought after by the new Russian-buying public. However, with it came an industrial scale level of faking of their pictures, often with the connivance, unwitting or otherwise, of Western and Russian experts. This lecture will examine the evidence for and against such paintings including attempts to “sneak them under the radar” through Western institutions, as well as attempts to use the Western judicial systems and fake news to help “legalise” the works.

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