General Topics for All Audiences
AMERICAN ART SERIES We offer three lectures on American Art, in which we trace the development from the pre-colonial era into modern times. Portraits of famous Americans, Hudson River School painters, and many historic events as covered in artistic masterpieces are featured in this series.
ART FROM ANCIENT GREECE AND ROME Expect to learn about Ancient Greece through a variety of beautifully crafted objects such as vases, figurines, jewelry, and funerary sculptures. See additional works ranging from mosaic portraits, sarcophagi, utilitarian vessels, and marble statues of famous Caesars and ordinary citizens of Ancient Rome.
ART FROM THE JEWISH CANON Strict rules against making graven images kept Jewish artists confined to other forms of decoration. Come see images of beautifully illuminated medieval manuscripts, intricately carved Seder plates and Menorah lamps, and elaborately embroidered marriage canopies. In addition, see works of famous paintings such as Marc Chagall and Chaime Soutine.
ART OF AND BY THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN We begin this lecture with pre-Civil War era works featuring slaves, chart the progress of the Civil Rights Movement, and end with paintings highlighting highly accomplished educators, entertainers, political leaders and statesmen.
ASIAN ART See images of sacred and secular works from China, Japan and India—gods and divinities depicted in ancient caves, temples, and other centers of religion, and excellent examples of works sculpted from terracotta, jade, precious metal, and glass.
BRITISH ART While royal figures and noble figures dominate early art from the British Isles, later works feature excellent portraits, pastoral scenery, and brilliant landscapes. Enjoy the works of Gainsborough, Constable and Turner (among other painters).
BUDDHIST ART This collection features objects of art showing narrative scenes from the life of the Buddha, from prince to enlightened being until his earthly passing. See examples of Buddha’s representation in aniconic and figural forms, and see sculptural variations from several Asian cultures.
COMPARATIVE RELIGION This series includes a combination of any two of the following: Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, and Islamic art.
FAMOUS WOMEN PAINTERS We start this lecture in the 16th century, with works by Sofonisba Anguissola in Italy, and end with Georgia O’Keefe. In between of course, we cover magnificent works by Judith Leyster (Dutch), Elisabeth Vigee le Brun (French), Mary Cassatt (American) and Freda Kahlo (Mexican).
FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD Scenes depicting the feast have been shown in reliefs, sculpture, and paintings for centuries, but what do the various foods symbolize? Learn the hidden meanings of food items in art and note how cultures vary in the value placed on both local and foreign foodstuffs.
FRENCH ART SERIES
In this lecture we chart the changes in artistic styles in France, from Baroque and Rococo, to Impressionist themes. Learn what caused the changes, and see vibrant examples of works from 17th through 19th century French artists. A second component, IMPRESSIONIST ART FROM FRANCE traces the development of the success story that started out as an anti-establishment experiment. Enjoy visual splendors from the oeuvres of artists such as Degas, Monet, Renoir, Morisot, and Pissarro. A third addition, POST-IMPRESSIONIST ART covers the works of painters such as Gauguin, Seurat, Van Gogh, and Cezanne, who continued to push the boundaries of what was considered acceptable art.
GENRE PAINTING Although the term “genre painting” did not come into use until the 18th century, this style of painting, showing scenes of ordinary people doing ordinary things, had been especially popular in the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries. Through paintings in this time frame, we learn much about the lives of common Dutch and Flemish people.
GOLDEN AGE OF DUTCH ART Busy ports such as Antwerp and Amsterdam made the Netherlands a dominant center of trade in 17th Europe. See how the newly rich merchants spurred novel and exciting cultural developments in Art. This lecture features Hals, Rembrandt, and Vermeer, as well as works from lesser-known artists.
HEAD GEAR: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HAT Examples vary from the pre-Christian laurel leaf and Oriental turbans, to the extravagantly plumed hats from European royal courts. Enjoy the fashions of changing times, while learning about head coverings that were functional or used as markers of societal rank.
HINDU ART These examples center on gods and divinities as illustrated in cave, temple, and self-standing sculpture, as well as narrative paintings based on ancient epic tales.
ISLAMIC ART AND ARCHITECTURE See excellent examples of art from the Islamic world: detailed calligraphy, jewel-like miniature paintings, inlaid metal work objects and ornamentation, and colorful items in glass and stoneware which may recount religious stories, historic events, or feature secular motifs and messages. Of course, this presentation covers architectural marvels such as the Blue Mosque and the Taj Mahal.
ITALIAN ART SERIES In the first lecture, we trace the development from the Byzantine-style painting in the 13th century into the dazzling beauty of art from the high Renaissance; in the second lecture, we focus primarily on the artists from Florence and Venice; and in the third lecture we cover Italian works that are both religious and secular. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens—they are all covered in this series!
LOVE & ROMANCE IN ART This lecture focuses on love stories culled from religion, history, literature and classical mythology.
NEW TESTAMENT See beautiful paintings by Great Masters depicting New Testament themes and stories such as the Annunciation, Birth of Christ, Visitation, and Crucifixion. Also included are scenes from Christ’s ministry and Passion as recounted in the Gospels.
OLD TESTAMENT Familiar Old Testament stories are brought to life in many wonderful paintings by famous artists such as Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Poussin. Included, also, are self-standing sculptural works, stained glass representations, and relief panels from Gothic-era Cathedrals in Europe.
OREINTALISM AND THE EXOTIC EAST In 1798, Napoleon returned from Egypt with lots of loot, and thus started Europe’s love affair with the Middle East. This lecture centers on 19th-century artists’ fascination with “the other”—all against the backdrop of lush settings, ancient ruins, or spectacular architecture.
PASTIMES AND PROFESSIONS This lecture explores art objects and paintings that show people pursuing livelihoods, whether for pleasure or as a means for making a living. Covering a wide spectrum of activities from eastern and western cultures, this lecture also delves into the culture during which the art objects or paintings were created. A second component, TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SAILOR shows paintings depicting Americans at work. A third addition in this series, WOMEN AT WORK, traces professions of women in art—ranging from peasant farm hands and midwives to poets, writers, suffragettes, and policy makers.
POETS, PRIESTS AND POLITICIANS The focus in this lecture is on movers and shakers in society, past and present. Famous artists’ tributes to the rich, powerful, and intellectual elites include popes, poets, and all the presidents seen on American currency. The paintings are presented along with facts and background about the era and region they represent.
PORTRAITURE From ancient sculptural representations in clay, metal, and stone to modern photographic images, the portrait has been a mainstay of the artistic tradition across cultures. This lecture includes images of iconic works of famous personalities from ancient to modern times in both painting and sculpture.
SCULPTURE See exceptional examples of sculpture—in varying materials ranging from clay, metal, and stone—by artists from Ancient Rome (including their copies of older, Greek works), through the European Renaissance period (including sculptures by Donatello and Michelangelo), into more modern times in America, featuring works by August St. Gaudens and Frederick Remington.
SILK ROAD: OBJECTS AND IDEAS TRADED ALONG THE ROUTES We speak of the Silk Road as though it were a single route. In fact, multiple passage routes were in use for millennia, from present-day Myanmar, along the mountains into India, China, and across the near- and mid-East regions into Europe. This lecture centers on objects, but also takes into account the intangible cultural influences—religion and language among them—that were traded and shared on the Silk Road.
STUFF OF LEGEND: CLASSICAL TALES & MYTH IN ART Paris was tasked with judging who was the “fairest woman” at a banquet. His choice would lead to the ill-fated Trojan War. You will learn stories behind many classical tales (including many famous episodes from the epics of Homer) in this presentation.
WIFE, MISTRESS, MODEL, AND MUSE Wealthy patrons commissioning portraits of their wives or wives in the Renaissance era was a standard request. However, patrons often also requested artists to paint their secret lovers. This presentation explores patron/painter-and-subject relationships, sometimes revealing surprising connections.
If you want a presentation on a topic not listed here, call us at 571-263-0651 and ask — we add lecture titles every month.
Each presentation is 50 minutes long, allowing for an additional 10 minutes of Q & A. We will bring our own laptop and projectors. What we need from you is a blank wall in a room with dimmable lighting.
Call: 571-263-0651 for any questions regarding changes (length of session, specific time period within a general topic etc.)