Programme Sep – Dec 2016

THEME:  Women in ArtAngelica_Kauffmann_by_Angelica_Kauffmann 2

ILLUSTRATED SEMINARS AND GROUP VISITS

Wednesday 14 September 2016, 10.30 – 12.30,Winchester Discovery Centre Famous Women and their Depiction in Italian Renaissance Painting
Illustrated seminar by Dr Antonia Whitley

In considerable contrast to the egalitarian ideals of today, the most popular famous
women depicted in Renaissance art seem to have been those who showed total
submission to their men. These heroines came from the pages of Ovid, Plutarch,
Virgil, the Bible, The Golden Legend and from the pen of writers of their own time,
such as Boccaccio and Petrarch. The painted depictions of these female exemplars
drawn from the Old Testament, from the Classics, from stories of the saints and
from contemporary literature help to inform us of Renaissance men’s expectations
of women; and perhaps they also tell us something of their anxieties too. Where
examples exist, the depictions of these legendary women by male artists will be
contrasted with images of the same subject-matter created by female artists.
Expect to be repulsed by the brutality of some of these images and by a world with
a set of values that has become distasteful to our own!

Wednesday 21 September 2016, 10.30 – 12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
Women Artists of the 17th and 18th Centuries
Illustrated Seminar by Gerald Deslandes

This period with its developments in training artists, new genres, materials and
techniques presented opportunities for women painters although obstacles
remained. The works of Clara Peeters and Maria Sibylla Merian are indicative of the
greater range of options that were open to women. The work of Artemisia
Gentileschi and her mastery of technique is demonstrated in her great self-portrait
at Hampton Court. But despite her ability her work was attacked by fellow artists
and critics. Whilst the Art establishment variously attempted to limit the potential
of women artists nonetheless the social and intellectual growth of society in this
period meant that more women were taking the opportunity to develop applied
arts and venture into painting ‘genteel subjects’. The fact that a professional body
such as the Royal Academy might have been seen as revolutionary in having
Angelica Kaufmann and Mary Moser among its first members is aggravated by their
exclusion of women from life-classes. Angelica Kaufmann and Elizabeth Vigee le
Brun flourished as portrait artists. The exploration of femininity during this period
in terms of the visual arts, literature and the theatre, a result of the changes in
society regarding the role and status of women, often showed women as the
embodiments of various moods or feelings, such as Romney’s depictions of Emma
Hart (later, Lady Hamilton) in a series of ‘attitudes’ and indeed Emma’s own
performances to invited guests of a series of poses could be seen as foreshadowing
what later artists such as Freida Kahlo and Cindy Sherman achieved in their works.

Wednesday 12 October 2016, Visit to Tate Modern: Georgia O’Keeffe

Travelling by train, we will be visiting the Tate Modern where we will start with an
introductory talk on the artist by a gallery guide, followed by lunch and then you
are free to visit the exhibition independently. Georgia O’Keeffe, an American
artist, is significant in the history of modernism. Best known for her paintings of
magnified flowers and New Mexican landscapes, she is considered an American
icon. The exhibition will show over 100 of her most important works.
(Minimum number: 20)

Wednesday 19 October 2016, 10.30 – 12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
Illustrated seminar
Part 1 – A Victorian Paradox: Elizabeth Thompson, Lady Butler by Carol
Orchard

Elizabeth Thompson became famous as a war artist in the 1870s, when Britain’s
empire was at its height and the word ‘jingoism’ was coined to describe the
popularity of the nation’s aggressive approach to foreign affairs. Yet it would be a
mistake to see Thompson’s paintings as glorifying war or nationalism – far from it.
Like her life, they were full of interest and paradox, and her achievements as an
artist – and as a woman – should be celebrated!

Part 2 – Pictures of Women: Gwen John by Chris Humphreys

Gwen John’s art has a quiet power which reveals an intensity of purpose and a
dedication to her craft. This short seminar focuses on aspects of her life and her
pictures of women and explores amongst other things the idea of the portrait and
the self-portrait, in which the artist conveys aspects of character, role, situation,
cultural and artistic allusions. It posits that her interiors are an aspect of selfportraiture
even if the subject is absent. It asks, and attempts to answer, the
difficult question: what ideas about women emerge in her work?

Tuesday 1 November to Thursday 3 November 2016, Visit to Manchester

This will be a two night stay in Manchester. Travelling by train, on our first UK
overnight trip, this visit will give us an opportunity to explore the art galleries and
architecture of this important Northern city. Full details will be circulated
separately.
(Minimum number: 20)

Wednesday 9 November 2016, The Depiction of Women in Renaissance Art
A National Gallery tour led by Dr Antonia Whitley

This tour gives the opportunity to examine and explore the depiction of women in
Renaissance art. Dr Whitley, who will be our guide, raises some important points
to consider when we view such art. Who do we see when we look at faces in
paintings? Idealised beauties? Individualised heads? Stereotypical stares? Credible
caricatures? True likenesses? Or do we look beyond the physical appearance, for
signs of character, for psychological portraits, or for physiognomy as a sort of
emblem for some desired moral quality, that is to say do we see the person
depicted as an exemplar or perhaps an allegory of some virtue or another? Details
of the arrangements for the tour will be circulated separately.
(Maximum number: 20)

Wednesday 16 November 2016, 10.30 – 12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
New Women and Decadent Women in the 1890s
Illustrated seminar by Professor Anne Anderson

While women began to make a name for themselves as artists and craft workers
(May Morris, Georgie Gaskin, the Macdonald sisters and Jessie Marion King) their
assertiveness was taken by conservatives as breaking social norms. As New
Woman many women artists wished to preserve their independence declining to
marry or have children; some went as far as supporting the suffrage cause.
Concurrently Art Nouveau took Woman as the embodiment of Nature as its
leading motif, as seen in the posters of Alphonse Mucha and the jewels of Rene
Lalique. The female form was remorselessly exploited with Woman invariably cast
as a femme fatale or destroyer of man, as seen in Aubrey Beardsley’s Salome. The
New Woman raised the spectre of ‘gender bending’ as she was either a virago or a
siren. Whether a professional artist or the artist’s muse the modern woman caused
much anxiety!

Wednesday 23 November 2016, 10.30 – 12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
Modern Women Sculptors
Illustrated seminar by Mary Acton

There are many female sculptors of the last fifty years and more, particularly in
Britain. This seminar will concentrate on important figures like Barbara Hepworth
and Elizabeth Frink of course, but it will also explore the fascinating work of more
recent artists like Rachel Whiteread and Cornelia Parker. One aspect of this which
is very interesting is the fact that their work often brings a different angle and
perspective on trends current at the time.

Wednesday 7 December 2016, 10.30 -12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
Why Secondary? Women Artists and the Expressionist Movement
Illustrated seminar by Monica Bohm-Duchen

“Women’s art accompanies men’s art. It is the secondary melodic part in the
orchestra, takes up the themes from the primary melody, modifies them, gives them
new, individual colouring, but it resounds and lives by virtue of the other.” – Hans
Hildebrandt, Die Frau als Künstlerin (The Woman as Artist), 1928.
Käthe Kollwitz, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Gabriele Münter, Marianne von Werefkin
– these names have become more or less accepted into the canon of modern
western art and accounts of the early twentieth century Expressionist movement in
particular. But who, even today, has heard of names such as Sigrid Hjertén, Vera
Nilsson, Jacoba van Heemskerck and Erma Barrera-Bossi? This illustrated seminar
will examine the achievements of all these women artists, both in their own right
and in relation to their better-known male contemporaries – as well as the complex
yet all too familiar reasons for their neglect.

 

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