2013 Friday and Saturday Afternoon Lectures at MFAH
This series of lecture are held on Fridays at 1:30 p.m. and repeated on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Brown Auditorium Theater. A reception to meet the speaker follows each lecture.
April 12-13, "Picasso Black and White"
Few artists have exerted as considerable an influence over subsequent generations as Pablo Picasso. Widely considered the most important artist of the 20th century, Picasso created a formidable body of work over more than six decades. Picasso Black and White is the first major exhibition to focus on a little-known aspect: Picasso's lifelong exploration of a black-and-white palette, whether in paintings, sculpture, or drawing. In this richly illustrated lecture, Gary Tinterow talks about how the exhibition demonstrates that Picasso's persistent return to black, white and gray was the means by which the artist continuously investigated and re-invented the structure of his compositions.
April 19-20, "Guernica: Picasso and the Politics of Modern Art"
Made over the course of a few months in 1937, Picasso's Guernica has become one of the most enduring political statements in the history of modern art. Seen by millions of people at the World's Fair in Paris that year and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where it was on display for 40 years, Guernica is also Picasso's most public aesthetic accomplishment. Sandra Zalman analyzes the circumstances of the painting's creation and accounts for how Guernica continues to shape Picasso's legacy in the history of art.
April 26-27, "Ghettoscapes"
In 1581, Francesco Sansovino wrote in his guidebook to Venice that Jews "prefer to live in Venice rather than in any other part of Italy. Since they are not subject to violence or tyranny here as they are elsewhere, . . . reposing in most singular peace, they enjoy this city almost like a true promised land." As Sansovino suggests, the ghetto offered Jews the opportunity to settle in Venice without the fear of physical violence. Although not the land of biblical promise, Venice provided Jews a segregated space to dwell with relative security. In this lecture, Dana E. Katz explores the spaces of the ghetto to understand how Jews lived in Venice and how Christians lived with Jews.
May 10-11, "Cyrus the Great: Friend of God & Paradise Builder"
Cyrus II was the founder of the ancient world's largest empire. This illustrated talk explores the ways in which, beginning with the Cyrus Cylinder, the ancient Persians were able to appeal to the "hearts and minds" of their various subject peoples in the Ancient Near East. The presentation also considers is whether Cyrus' diplomatic tolerance of local cultures and religions, alongside the quadripartite garden plan of his dynastic capital, may reflect a Zoroastrian understanding of the world.
May 17-18, "Variations on a Theme: Pablo Picasso and Revisiting Old & Modern Masters"
Pablo Picasso drew on paintings of the past as a source of inspiration throughout his entire career. During the last two decades of his life, he created three major series of painted and graphic variations on the theme of past masterpieces. At the same time, Picasso was reinterpreting, more sporadically, themes used by Poussin, David or Courbet. Anna Tahinci examines how Picasso revisited past masterpieces with the double intention of commenting on contemporary events and breaking free from all boundaries.
May 24-25, "Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis"
Robert Edsel's new book, Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis, follows Monuments officers Deane Keller, a portrait painter and art professor, and Fred Hartt, an art scholar, serving alongside frontline troops, as they race to discover the location of billions of dollars of missing artwork taken from the great museums in Florence and Naples. With the whereabouts of the art unknown to the Allies, a heretofore obscure SS General holds the works hostage while negotiating a secret Nazi surrender with American spies. This gripping narrative holds appeal for anyone who loves history, art, travel and adventure.