We seem to be heading deeper into the draconian ‘tier system’, but with the various vaccines, things are starting to look up for the new year! See right for the events that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home, and, when it becomes possible, in person, and in another country…

coming sooner… and later.

It’s nearly next year, and for most of us I’m sure it can’t come soon enough. My diary is starting to fill up, so, without further ado, and in chronological order, this is what I have planned so far. All the lectures are online, but the overseas trips are – well, overseas!

I will be lead tutor on the National Gallery’s Stories of Art: Module 3, covering the art of the 16th Century. This will take place online on Wednesdays from 17:30-19:30 for six weeks starting from Wednesday 6 January. Click on the title of the course to find more details, including the topics to be covered each week, and the guest lecturers who will be joining me for the first three weeks, as we attempt to stretch the History of Western European art beyond Western Europe.

On Thursday 7 January I will be giving a lecture entitled Revealing Ravenna: Why the Best of Byzantium is in Italy from 18:00-19:00 for Art History Abroad – expect wonderful mosaics, rich colours and surprising splendour!

On Wednesday 27 January I will be returning to ARTscapades to talk about Good and Bad Government – The Lorenzetti Brothers in Siena. This talk will go on sale in early January, and I’ll put a link into the title when it does. However, you could always follow the link to sign up for the ARTscapades mailing list.

As it happens, Siena is one of my favourite Italian destinations, and it is regularly on the tourist trail. However, people often only go for the day, thus failing to get to know this wonderful city properly – so how would four days suit you? Tier 4 and COVID variant allowing, I’ll be taking a trip to Siena with Art History Abroad from 1-4 February. We will look at the work of Duccio and the Lorenzetti brothers in particular, visiting the Cathedral and its associated buildings, as well exploring the Palazzo Publico, the most important churches, and the winding medieval streets. We will also learn about medieval painting techniques at a hands-on workshop with Marco Caratelli.

Vermeer is next – arguably the greatest Dutch artist, calm, balanced and totally in control. I’m particularly interested in the paintings he depicted within his own work, so I am calling my lecture Art within Art: the Careful Compositions of Johannes Vermeer. This will be one of Art History Abroad’s popular ‘cocktail hour’ talks on Wednesday 17 February at 18:00 GMT.

I was in Brussels earlier this year when we started to hear about a new thing called ‘lockdown’, and it dawned on us that we might not get to Rome to see the Raphael exhibition in March. Nevertheless, we have moved the visit to this February, as there is still plenty of Raphael to see in the Eternal City. We will be going, all things allowing, from 24-28 February: The Art and Architecture of Raphael in Rome, with Art History Abroad.

Having started 2021 with a lecture on the mosaics of Ravenna, it will be great to go and see them first hand, and I’m sure that by March, tier 4 measures – and the vaccine/s – will have had an effect, and any hold-ups from Brexit will have calmed down, and we will be able to travel again. I will be heading off to Ravenna and the Comacchio Lagoon with Art History Abroad from 12-15 March – click on the link for more details!

During Easter week I will be talking about Easter week – it seems like the best time to do it, after all! Following on from The Childhood of Christ in Art, which took place in the first week of Advent, I will again be running a two-session course for the Wallace Collection: The Passion of Christ in Art, 30-31 March, 11:00-13:00 – and once again, we will focus on their collection, and bring in great works from elsewhere as the need arises.

And later that same week (on Maundy Thursday, 1 April to be precise), I will be giving a FREE talk for the CCT (Churches Conservation Trust) at 1pm BST – entitled Painting the Passion with Passion: Giotto and the Easter Story in Padua, you can find out more by clicking on that link, or register your interest via the CCT’s Facebook page.

As things stand, the possibility of going to Stockholm next May seems more than likely. We were due to go last June, but we were in lockdown. We then went in November. and locked down immediately after. The Swedes never did, and still haven’t, although they did close most of their museums just before we arrived, which was… a challenge that I enjoyed overcoming! Everything is planned for next May, although there will be a few final edits. 20-23 May: Stockholm, with Art History Abroad

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