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 ART AS A MIRROR

Ian Aaronson, Distinguished Emeritus Professor, Medical University of South Carolina

This course explores the lives of a group of celebrated artists whose paintings reflect the seismic political and social changes they personally witnessed.

We first meet Hans Holbein who, as painter to King Henry VIII, observed the intrigues that led to the execution of Anne Boleyn and the revered Sir Thomas More. His flattering portrait of Anne of Cleves, whom Henry detested when he finally met her, nearly cost Holbein his own life.

In Antwerp, in the Spanish Netherlands, we meet the affable and cultivated Rubens whose colourful swirling figures answered the demands of the Catholic Counter Reformation, whilst to the North in the breakaway Calvinist Dutch Republic, we encounter the restrained and perceptive Rembrandt whose personal life was marked by recurring grief.

In Spain we will meet El Greco and Velazquez whose paintings have resonated through the centuries, and then Francisco Goya who witnessed the conflict to end Napoleon’s occupation, producing unforgettable images of the horrors of war.

We will then meet Jacques-Louis David, one of France’s most respected painters, whose signature on the execution warrant of Louis XVI during the bloody aftermath of the French Revolution led to his imprisonment and eventual exile.

Finally, we will get to know Winslow Homer, whose paintings of the common soldier in the American Civil War were unprecedented. But it was the 1913 Armory Show in New York of works by the European avant garde that jolted American provincialism, opening the way for Hopper, Warhol, Pollock and Rothko who thrust that city into the leadership position it enjoys today.

 

Lecture titles

1.  Hans Holbein and the bloody court of Henry VIII

2.  Rubens, Rembrandt and the birth of the Dutch Republic

3.  The Spain of El Greco, Velazquez and Goya

4.  Jacques-Louis David, Napoleon and the French Revolution

5.  Winslow Homer and the great American experiment

 

ONLINE: https://www.webtickets.co.za/v2/performance.aspx?itemid=1509152951

IN-PERSON: https://www.webtickets.co.za/v2/performance.aspx?itemid=1509144839

 

DATE: Monday 24–Friday 28 January
TIME: 11.15 am
COURSE FEES: R375 (online)/R550 (in person)
PLATFORM: MS TEAMS