Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Two Fridays, November 6 and 13, 2020, noon-2:15 ONLINE
ITALIAN RENAISSANCE MASTERS: BOTTICELLI, LEONARDO DA VINCI, RAPHAEL, MICHELANGELO
The Renaissance, a genuine re-birth of culture in Italy between the mid 15th and mid-16th century, saw extraordinary artistic accomplishments in painting and sculpture. Artists found inspiration in the styles and subjects of ancient Greece and Rome. An interest in accurately--even scientifically--depicting the natural world developed. Recognition of the importance of each individual was reflected in art by the revival of portraiture and self-portraits.
Friday November 6, 2020 noon-2:15 (ONLINE)
1.Botticelli (1445-1510): Sandro Botticelli depicted subjects taken from ancient art and literature, such as the Birth of Venus, with idealized, ethereal, immaterial figures of great beauty, created with flowing, undulating lines. Although the ideal proportions of antique anatomy were gretly admired, Botticelli’s figures display some perhaps surprising anomalies.
2. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519): Regarded as the “Renaissance man,” Leonardo da Vinci, was extremely adept in a variety of skills, including those of painter, architectural designer, engineer, and inventor. He created the most famous painting in the world, the Mona Lisa, celebrated for her enigmatic facial expression.
Friday November 13, 2020 noon-2:15 (ONLINE)
3.Raphael (1483-1520): In spite of a life of only 37 years, Raphael is considered the paradigm of the High Renaissance in Italy because his style most closely approximates that of 5th-century BC Greece. Characteristics of Renaissance art seen in Raphael’s School of Athens include ideal body proportions, balanced composition, clarity of meaning, and illusion of depth.
4.Michelangelo (1475-1564): Michelangelo, the master of muscular male anatomy, painted the celebrated Sistine chapel ceiling for Pope Julius II, but considered himself to be a sculptor. He explained his approach to sculpture by saying, “I created a vision of David in my mind, and simply carved away everything that was not David.”
92nd Street Y, New York City, NY
Two Fridays, October 9 and 16, 2020, noon-2:15 ONLINE
SICILY: ETERNAL CROSSROADS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN
Sicily’s art and architecture mirror its history as a kaleidoscope of cultures, ranging from stark Greek temples, through dazzling Roman and Arab-Norman mosaics, and on to Baroque opulence, and charming Romantic revivals. Travel vicariously with art historian Janetta Rebold Benton Ph.D. to see the highlights of aesthetic eclecticism and cultural combinations on this island of sun and stone!
Friday, October 9, 2020, noon-2:30 (ONLINE)
1. Antiquity: Greek Temples at Agrigento; architects and sculptors seek ideal proportions by using mathematical ratios; 4th-century Roman mosaics at the villa near Piazza Armerina reveal a lifestyle of colorful pleasures.
2. Middle Ages: The well-preserved medieval town of Erice; celebrated 12th-century Arab-Norman mosaics of the Palatine Chapel in Palermo; cathedrals, mosaics, and cloisters of Cefalù and Monreale remain without equal.
Friday, October 16, 2020, noon-2:30 (ONLINE)
3.Renaissance to Baroque: Early Renaissance painter Antonello da Messina and Baroque painter Caravaggio; a white stucco oratory in Palermo; curious combinations of cultures in Siracusa and Palermo; dramatic Baroque churches in Modica and Ragusa Ibla.
4. 18th and 19th-century luxury living: Bizarre decoration at the “Villa of the Monsters” in Bagheria; Chinese-inspired Palazzina Cinese outside Palermo; Gothic revival at Castello di Donnafugata near Ragusa; Palermo’s eclectic Villa Whitaker.
Two Fridays, December 11 & 18, 2020, noon-2:15 ONLINE
ESCAPE TO FRANCE: IMPRESSIONISM
Impressionism, one of the most popular styles in the history of art, derives its name from an insult aimed at Claude Monet’s 1872 painting, Impression, Sunrise.
Leaving behind the dark colors, smooth surfaces, and subjects approved by the official Salon, the Impressionists painted with bright colors, let their brushstrokes show, and focused on scenes of everyday life. In fact, the artists’ goal was to capture an impression of what the eye sees in a fleeting glance.
Fri, Dec. 11: Impressionism Pt. I: Degas and Monet
Edgar Degas (1834-1917) is famous for his depictions of ballerinas—although more often in class and behind the scenes than on stage performing gracefully. He was called a “linear Impressionist,” a term he hated for its implication of careless accidental painting.
Claude Monet (1840-1926), key to the founding of Impressionism, painted outdoors in order to capture fleeting weather and atmospheric conditions on canvas. He painted with vivid tones using a technique referred to as “broken color.”
Fri, Dec. 18: Impressionism Pt. II: Morisot and Renoir
Berthe Morisot (1841-95) and her friend Mary Cassatt were rare women Impressionist painters in Paris. Morisot was praised by the other Impressionists for her skill in handling color. Favoring high value pastel tones, she painted portraits and landscapes.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), with his upbeat personality, continued to paint sensuous nudes when confined to a wheelchair with the brush strapped to his hand. Even when suffering chronic pain, painting was his preferred medicine.
This program takes place from 12-2:15 pm.
Smithsonian Journeys, Washington, DC
Smithsonian Expert Lecturer on the following trips:
♦ June 21-30, 2021 Loire Valley Canal Cruise,
♦ July 12-25, 2021, Highlights of Britain,
♦ International Society of Humor Studies Conference, University of Texas - Austin, invited plenary speaker, "Medieval Mischief: Wit and Humor in the Art of the Middle Ages," June 26, 2019.
♦ Institute for Medieval Studies,University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM. Medieval Animals Conference. Invited keynote speaker, presentation on "The Medieval Menagerie: Animals in the Art of the Middle Ages,"April 25, 2017.
“The Museum as Cultural Magnet: Enhanced Experience, Increased Attendance,” The State Hermitage Museum, Museum of the 21st Century: New Educational Strategies, Proceedings of the International Conference 25-27 November 2015, The State Hermitage Publishers, Saint Petersburg, 2017, 128-33, pls. XV-XVI, with summary in Russian.
Lectures in China, 2018
Hangzhou: China Academy of Art, public lectures with translators: 1) Animals in the Art of the Middle Ages, 2) Holy Terrors: Gargoyles on Medieval Buildings
Beijing: Tsinghua University, Broadcast of my lecture on Andy Warhol, watched by more than 3,600 people
讲座回顾 | “波普教皇”安迪·沃霍尔的一生
Shanghai: Shanghai University, Winslow Homer; American Consulate, Winslow Homer
Nanjing: Nanjing University, 1) Georgia O’Keeffe, 2) Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol lecture to be published by Tsinghua University in Periodical of Tsinghua University Art Museum, Beijing, 2019, forthcoming
Chinese translation of two volumes of Arts and Culture, 4e, Tsinghua University Press, Beijing, forthcoming, 2020
Art Essentials: How to Understand Art, Thames & Hudson, London, forthcoming 2021