Let’s Talk About Art

In this series of ten 1 hour lectures we will look at themes that are commonly found in paintings and sculptures that we see in galleries, museums and stately homes: Saints, Colour, Myths, Animals and Death. These lectures will give you a basis from which you can explore these fascinating and wide-ranging themes in greater depth, giving you some of the tools you need to understand works of art!

Let’s talk about Saints in art – Part 1.

The Church has been one of the most important patrons of art over the centuries and therefore religious paintings are often dominant within our collections. We see many saints looking back at us – but can you identify them? We will find out about how you become a Saint, the history of saints and begin looking in detail at some key saints so you can identify them yourself!

Let’s talk about Saints in art – Part 2.

We will carry on with our exploration of the Christian saints, their attributes and their fascinating stories, which really were like our dramatic blockbuster movies of the middle ages. Who is your favourite? Which saint has the best story? or the most gruesome attribute? Join us to make your choice!

Let’s talk about Colour in art – Part 1.

In this talk we will look at colour and how it is used in paintings. Today we will look at some of the how-to guides that were written for artists, such as Cennino Cennini’s The Craftsman’s Handbook of c.1390, and how colour theory refocussed our attention on colour relationships in the modern era.

Let’s talk about Colour in art – Part 2.

Today we will carry on exploring colour and how it is used in art, and we’ll will look in detail at some of the most important colours in art – blue, red, green, yellow and the most difficult of colours to use in painting, black as well as some colour symbolism.

Let’s talk about myths in art – Part 1.

Artists have long been inspired by the Ancient World and its rich tradition of myths and legends. In this first talk we will start look at the variety of ways myths have been used in art, including how they have been adapted to create paintings to indulge private pleasures, to create impressive public personas, or to promote public and political agendas.

Let’s talk about myths in art – Part 2.

In this talk we will carry on looking at how ancient mythology is used in art and today we will focus on some of mythology’s most famous characters and hear some of the most famous and dramatic mythological tales.

Let’s talk about animals in art – Part 1.

Animals are everywhere in art – we see pets, wild animals and mythological creatures. What can you say about a lap dog in comparison to a hunting dog? What do horses represent? Why are dragons leashed? In these two talks we will answer these questions, and look at some of the most common animals to be found in paintings and their significance.

Let’s talk about animals in art – Part 2.

In Part 2 we will carry on looking at the animals we find in art and look at more pets, wild animals and mythological creatures to discover their symbolism, their stories and what they tell us about the paintings and the time in which they were painted.

Let’s talk about death in art – Part 1.

Today we tend to avoid talking about death, but in the past death was ever present in people’s minds. In this talk we will look at how death is referenced in paintings and sculptures. We will look at representations of death, symbols of death, the memento mori, and the art of mourning and remembering to help you negotiate this most difficult of topics.

Let’s talk about death in art – Part 2.

We will continue looking at the iconography of death, as well as how death and the afterlife is represented in art, and through it we will see how people’s ideas about death have changed over the years.