Arts Appreciation Society
Below see below a sample of previous lectures.
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH: HIS MUSIC AND HIS LIFE (FEBRUARY 2022)
Johann Sebastian Bach: His music and his life
(1685 – 1750)
Music lovers generally regard JS Bach as the greatest of early 18th century composers. In fact, he is so important in the history of music that we close down the Baroque period with his death in 1750. This lecture goes beneath the surface of Bach's music to decode some of his musical symbolism, to reveal some of his working methods and to highlight some of his aesthetic goals.
OCEAN LINERS 1800 - 1950: SHIPS THAT CHANGED OUR LIVES (OCTOBER 2022)
Ocean liners 1800 -1950
The vision and genius of Isambard Kingdom Brunel underpins this global story of hopes and dreams, disasters and triumphs. A wide range of ships are featured including Great Britain and Great Western, Lusitania and Mauretania, Olympic and Titanic and, arguably Britain's most popular liner, the Queen Mary, brought to life through a diverse range of artworks, including some striking Art Deco Posters.
ANTIQUES AND THEIR VALUE (NOVEMBER 2022)
‘Antiques and their Value’
JAMES ABBOTT MCNEIL WHISTLER "THE GENTLE ART OF MAKING ENEMIES"(JANUARY 2023)
James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903) “The Gentle Art of Making Enemies”
Self assured, affected and irreverent, the owner of a razor sharp wit, Whistler scandalized London society during the 1870s. American by birth, he trained as an artist in Paris where his bohemian lifestyle made him one of the personalities of the city. Annoyed by the criticisms of his work at the Salon des Refuses he moved to London only to find the English even more opposed to his ideas. The lecture explores the paradox of this man whose flamboyant and eccentric ways made him both admired and detested in equal measure and yet whose quiet, meditative paintings ultimately assured him a place alongside Oscar Wilde as one of the high priests of the Aesthetic Movement.
DISCOVERING MACDONALD GILL (1884-1947): ARCHITECT, ARTIST AND MAPMAKER (FEBRUARY 2023)
Discovering MacDonald Gill (1884 – 1947): Architect, Artist and Mapmaker
MacDonald 'Max' Gill, younger brother of the sculptor Eric Gill, was an architect, letterer, and graphic artist of the first half of the twentieth century. He was famed for his pictorial map posters for the London Underground and painted map panels for landmark buildings such as Lindisfarne Castle and the Palace of Westminster. His architectural legacy lives on in the arts and crafts cottages he designed in rural Sussex and Dorset while the alphabet and badges he created for the standard military headstone are well-known. This talk by Max Gill's great-niece gives fascinating insights into the life and work of this remarkable but little-known artist.
RESCUING THE MOSIACS OF ZEUGMA FROM THE FLOOD WATERS OF THE EUPHRATES (MARCH 2023)
Rescuing the mosaics of Zeugma from the flood waters of the Euphrates
Louise Schofield was instrumental in setting up the multinational rescue excavations at the Roman city of Zeugma, on the Euphrates, before it was flooded for the Birecik dam. In her lecturer she’ll talk about these magnificent ruins of ancient Roman villas with superb mosaics of the ancient city of Zeugma which have lain below pistachio groves in southeast Turkey for nearly 2000 years. Once it was on the Silk Road between Antioch and China, with a quay on the River Euphrates and an affluent population of 80,000. Now the race is on to preserve Zeugma from the rising waters of a new dam build for irrigation and energy production.
FRIDA KAHLO AND DIEGO RIVERA: THE GOLDEN AGE OF MEXICAN PAINTING (APRIL 2023)
Chloë has made ethnographic collections and carried out fieldwork in Mexico and Belize for the British Museum. She has curated various exhibitions of Mexican folk art, and has also worked on a number of television documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4. She is also a Research Associate in the Department for World Cultures at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.
In 2016 the Mexican Government awarded her the prestigious Ohtli medal to thank her for her long-standing commitment to Mexican culture.
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: The Golden Age of Mexican Painting
Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) and Diego Rivera (1886-1957) have iconic status in Mexico. They were married in 1929.The Mexican Revolution of 1910 swept away the old régime and banished European influence in the arts. Kahlo and Rivera, in their different ways, helped to shape the cultural identity of twentieth-century Mexico. The Mexican mural movement, born during the 1920s, was destined to produce some of the greatest public art of the last century.
Diego Rivera’s panoramic images adorn the walls of public buildings, combining social criticism with a faith in human progress.
Frida Kahlo was arguably Mexico’s most original painter. She made herself the principal theme of her art. Her paintings reflect her experiences, dreams, hopes and fears.
THE DREGS OF THE PEOPLE REMAIN: BLACK DEATH AND ITS AFTERMATH (MAY 2023)
She has been lecturing and running study tours on Anglo-Saxon and Medieval history for some years and uses art – usually church art – as the evidence in her research as much as possible. She lectures for travel tours and on board small ships for Noble Caledonia, as well as for The Arts Society, U3A, Kent Federation of History and East Kent National Trust. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the British Commission for Military History. She was recently given the Freedom of the City of London. In 2022 Imogen was elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
The Dregs of the People Remain: Black Death and its Aftermath
It is possible to see a shift in artistic tastes following the plague years which began in the mid C14th. This is understandable considering we now know that certainly 50% and perhaps 60% of the population of Europe and beyond perished in the first wave and that the disease recurred over the next 130 years.
There is a distinct increase in interest in the macabre, but also in explorations of what will happen in the next life; some of it surprisingly optimistic and amusing. We see more interest in ex-pagan images and specific demands for spiritual protection and so what might be seen as a dust-to-dust mentality also becomes one of no tragedy, no triumph.
THE PAINTERS OF THE CIRQUE MEDRANO (JUNE 2023)
The Painters of the Cirque Medrano
This lecture looks at the legendary Paris circus, from its beginning in 1875 until its closure in 1963. It was integral to Paris life and culture, attracting writers, painters and poets. Many artists, including Renoir, Lautrec, Degas and Picasso were inspired by, and captured, the magic of the circus. This is an intriguing journey of the Cirque Medrano’s history seen through the eyes of the Montmartre artists.
FROM BRONZES TO BANKSY - AN ARMCHAIR TOUR OF PUBLIC ART AND STREET ART IN LONDON (JULY 2023)
From Bronzes to Banksy – an armchair tour of public art and street art in London
This is a talk about the remarkable range of art outside in the streets of London, discovering some of the most interesting works from across the centuries. They range from huge and expensive commissions to unofficial graffiti, which are sometimes audacious and often playful, but they all have a place in our society. The talk looks at why art is there, how it has developed over the years and discovers many hidden gems. The tour includes video clips recorded on location to give the talk a degree of reality.
DAVID NASH: ONE MAN AND HIS WOOD (SEPTEMBER 2023)
David Nash : One Man and his Wood David Nash is a contemporary artist, working mainly in wood. His large wood sculptures are sometimes carved or burned to produce blackening, his tools include chainsaws, axes, fire blowtorch, and yet his work shows an extraordinary knowledge of, and sensitivity to, the wood that he works with. This lecture provides an overview of his career, including some of his most famous works, such as Wooden Boulder and Ash Dome.
THE NOCTURNE IN 19TH CENTURY ART AND MUSIC (OCTOBER 2023)
The Nocturne in 19th Century Art and Music
In 1859 when Franz Liszt edited the Nocturnes of the Irish composer John Field, he said in his preface ‘to him we may trace the origin of pieces designed to portray subjective and profound emotion.’ Once Field had coined the term ‘nocturne’ in 1812, other composers such as Chopin, Mendelssohn, Fauré and Debussy followed suit and contributed to an increasing repertoire of atmospheric and meditative night pieces. However, from the early 1870s, the term ‘nocturne’ was used in the titles of paintings by the American painter, James Whistler. In addition to exploring the history of the musical nocturne, the lecture explores its relationship with the world of art.
INN SIGNIA: THE ARTWORK AND STORIES BEHIND PECULIAR PUB NAMES (NOVEMBER 2023)
Inn Signia: The artwork and stories behind peculiar pub names
Pubs and their signs are a fundamental part of our history and cultural heritage. In this colourful and entertaining lecture John shows some of the most interesting and distinctive signs before exploring the fascinating stories behind the origin of some of their peculiar names. Who could fail to be intrigued by ‘The Bucket of Blood’, the ‘Cow and Snuffers’ or even the ‘Eager Poet’ – and who on earth was ‘Blind Jack’?
THE DANCING FAUN (JANUARY 2024)
The Dancing Faun
In this lecture Bertie recounts the extraordinary tale of how a small bronze statue, which had sat in his grandfather’s garden for 40 years, was discovered as a masterpiece and ended up in the Getty Museum, California. Adriaen De Vries (c.1556-1626) was a Northern Mannerist sculptor born in the Netherlands. A technical virtuoso, he created spectacular bronzes for the most discerning patrons of his time, including the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II of Prague. He excelled in refined modelling and bronze casting and in the manipulation of patina and became the most famous European sculptor of his generation.