This series of lectures is held on Fridays at 1:30 p.m. with a repeat on Saturdays at 4 p.m. in the Brown Auditorium Theater. A reception to meet the speaker and a "Your Turn to Speak" tour follow each lecture.
Feb. 7-8: "Arabia: Crossroad of Ancient Civilizations"
From ancient times, Saudi Arabia was a meeting place for powerful cultures and exotic exchanges. For centuries, the spice and incense trade brought enormous wealth to the area. Stone sculptures, ceramics and works of precious metals and colorful glass tell this story. In this lecture, Frances Marzio explores works of art— many discovered during archeological excavations over the last 40 years — that illustrate the history of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Feb. 14-15: "Easels in Eden: Monet's Painting and Gardening Techniques"
The relationship between Claude Monet's gardening practices and painterly techniques as he used them to create more than 500 canvasses in the landscape at Giverny from the 1890s until his death in 1926 is the focus of this lecture, including an examination of how Monet moved beyond representation to abstraction and thus prefigured the Modern aesthetic in the most subtle of terms. Presented by Eric T. Haskell, professor of French and director of the Clark Humanities Museum, Scripps College.
Feb. 21-22: "What Should They Wear? Impressionists and the Art of Fashion"
Were the Impressionists fashionistas? And what role did fashion play in their goal to paint modern life with a "modern" style? In the second half of the 19th century, the modern fashion industry was born. Designers like Charles Frederick Worth were transforming how clothing was made and marketed, department stores were on the rise, and fashion magazines began to proliferate. Visual artists and writers alike were intrigued by this new industry; its dynamic, ephemeral and constantly innovative qualities embodied the very essence of modernity that they sought to express in their work and offered a means of discovering new visual and verbal expressions. Gloria Groom of the Art Institute of Chicago explores this topic.
Feb. 28-March 1: "Going for Baroque: The Ups and Downs of the Taste for Collecting the Italian Old Masters"
Trends in scholarship and collecting art, as in other fields, ebb and flow. In America, the taste for Italian Baroque painting of the 17th and 18th centuries has experienced highs and lows. During the late-18th century, founding father and third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, displayed great interest in Guido Reni, Salvator Rosa, Caravaggio and their contemporaries. A half-century later, in response to British critic John Ruskin, these painters fell out of favor. But less than a century later, American collectors including Samuel H. Kress and John Ringling collected these painters with enthusiasm and, as a result, greatly influenced museum collections in the United States, including the MFAH. And what is the state of collecting Italian Baroque masters today? Presented by Edgar Peters Bowron, Audrey Jones Beck Curator of European Art.