27 April 2021
The Genius of Beethoven
Famously, every morning of his adult life, Beethoven measured out exactly 60 coffee beans for his breakfast. A man who is capable of such discipline over a cup of coffee can surely apply that exactness elsewhere in his life and in Beethoven’s case, it was applied to his compositions. In fact, the detail found in his music is often so subtle that most people don’t even know it’s there. The lecture/study day explores Beethoven’s genius as a writer of music, at the same time setting his extraordinary story against the backdrop of 19th century warfare, revolution and dramatic social changes. Beethoven would have been 250 years old on 17 December 2020.
25 May 2021
Dickens, Lawrence and Zhivago: David Lean’s Art of Cinema
Cinematic images are modern art forms. In the ‘golden age’ of cinema – before the development of CGI technology – film-makers had to construct sets to represent landscapes, townscapes and interiors. Sometimes they used paintings and photographs, sometimes they built scale models, sometimes they constructed full-size replicas. In each case, they created an art installation they then captured in celluloid images.
Drawing on new insights from the archaeology of cinema, this lecture will use the films of renowned British director David Lean to explore the art of cinema. How do the ‘artists’ – in this case formed of large collaborative teams (directors, screenwriters, production designers, costume designers, camera crews, fixers, etc) – choose locations, construct sets, dress actors and, more generally, ‘imagine’ the world they seek to represent? How much is authentic and how much preconception and prejudice? What are the influences on the way the cinema depicts the world?
28 September 2021
Australia’s Fontainebleau and the Heidelberg School
The Heidelberg School shelters under its own unique umbrella taking their academic influences equally from the Royal Academy School in London and the French Impressionists. Key members were Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Frederick McCubbin and Charles Conder whose art evolved from the informal, evocative and naturalistic into a nationalistic expression. In 1901 McCubbin bought a cottage on Mount Macedon, its surroundings became the inspiration for some of his best known works, the family named the property Fontainebleau. Its guest list ranged from Ellen Terry and Dame Nellie Melba to his myriad students who camped in the gardens.
19 October 2021
Ups and Downs of the Lives of the Impressionists along the Seine which has been termed ‘The Cradle of Impressionism.’
A tiny section of the Seine to the West of Paris which would have represented the perfect antidote to the claustrophobia of mid 19th Paris has been termed the Cradle of Impressionism. It was here to five neighbouring riverside villages that the artists who would later become known as the Impressionists, became frequent visitors. In some cases they even set up home for a while. The lives and early works of Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley and Morisot will be explored in this lively and entertaining lecture. Their desperation to gain recognition and make their mark is apparent and both the painting styles adopted, and subject matter depicted were to cause a revolution in the Art World.
16 November 2021
Art Behind Bars: Role of the Arts in the Cycle of Crime, Prison and Re-offending
Years of working as an artist within the Criminal Justice System in England and Germany have given Angela unique insights into the destructive and costly cycle of crime, prisons and re-offending. In this thought-provoking talk she offers a deeper understanding of the minds, lives and challenges of offenders. With extraordinary slides of art projects and prisoner’s art, she demonstrates how within the process of creating art of any discipline, there are vital opportunities for offenders to confront their crimes and develop the key life skills so essential in leading a positive and productive life. A frequent response to this talk has been “I had no idea!” and indeed it casts light onto areas of our society where the Arts not only are visual, decorative or commercial, but absolutely vital, hugely relevant and potentially life-changing.
This talk is moving, informative and very original. Interspersed with personal accounts of humorous or slightly horrifying situations, these talks have kept audiences across the country engrossed.