Once upon a time there was some certainty: don’t do anything, stay at home, take some exercise. Now, the choice is yours… but I do hope you are taking up the opportunities to travel, and to experience things in real life rather than online. Nevertheless, not everything is always easy – and so I shall continue to lecture online for those who find it convenient! On the right you can see what I’m up to, including events that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home, and even, when it becomes possible, in person – possibly even in another country…

…the acting is over so back to the art…

I’ve decided to keep going with zoom talks inspired by my foreign travels, even if those travels won’t necessarily go as smoothly as we’d hope! We realised this week, for example, that a planned trip to Stockholm, postponed from last May, will have to be postponed again to next May. One bonus is that we will offer the trip twice, so there will be more places available – and I know that at least one of you was on the waiting list for this year… More on that below, though.

For all sorts of reasons I do not record my talks (I’m keeping this paragraph in because people keep asking!) Please accept my apologies if you are not available. Below you will find links to Tixoom, who deal with all the ticketing. They will email you with a ticket, which includes the link for the talk itself, and you will also receive a receipt from Stripe, who deal with the money. This sounds obvious, but if you don’t get the email with the ticket it is so much easier for me if you contact me more than 5 minutes before the talk is due to start – thank you! However, I will check my emails until at least 10 minutes before the start if you do have problems…

My next talks are inspired, in part, by my trip to Dresden which is scheduled for November – but I’m doing them now as the first of the two, on Monday 20 September at 6pm is also inspired by the National Gallery’s exhibition Bellotto – The Königstein Views Reunited: I hope the talk will act as a good introduction to this remarkable gathering of paintings. You can find a bit more information on Tixoom if you click on this link for Bellotto – The Journey to Dresden.

This will be followed, on Monday 27 September at 6pm by a return (for me) to Ferrara, where I studied sculpture for my PhD. It will focus on one of the Ferrarese school’s great artists, Francesco del Cossa. The talk is entitled How to wear your halo (and the Significance of the Snail) – and if that doesn’t make sense, try clicking the link!

On Tuesday (yes, Tuesday) 12 October I will repeat my talk about the wonderful mosaics in Ravenna which I gave for AHA earlier in the year – I know quite a few of you will have seen it already, but I wanted to repeat it as we will finally be going (see below) – the trip was originally scheduled for March, think. The full title is Revealing Ravenna – why the Best of Byzantium is in Italy and will cover most of the mosaics in the city itself (…I’m afraid there’s nothing new for those who saw it before).

16 – 19 September should have seen a welcome return to Stockholm. Instead there will be two trips next year, from 26-29 May and 29 May – 1 June (I’ll drop the first group at the airport as I pick up the second!) This will be an introduction to the history and art of a truly wonderful city, looking at unique renaissance sculpture, and the 19th Century masters, Anders Zorn – who rivals Sargent and Sorolla in his voluptuous use of paint – and Carl Larrson, whose beautiful paintings contain a delicacy of touch and colour which is bound to delight. There will also be a nautical theme: we will also take a boat trip inland to see the Queen’s Castle – Drottningholm – and visit the Vasa, the remains of a 17th Century shipwreck which far outshines the Mary Rose. Do contact Art History Abroad if you think you might be interested!

I will, however, be heading off )at short notice) to Porto and the Douro Valley from 29 September – 4 October – you can read more about that on the Art History Abroad website, if you click on the blue link, and from 18 – 21 October we will be heading to Ravenna and the Comacchio Lagoon. Having started the year with a lecture on the glorious mosaics, which I am just about to repeat, it will be such a joy to see them in person – the best surviving Byzantine art in the world, and among the best mosaics anywhere. We will also head out into the Comacchio lagoon, enjoy great local food, and visit the Abbey of Pomposa, one of Italy’s little-visited wonders of Romanesque architecture.

We will visit Dresden from 4 – 7 November to see the exhibition dedicated to Vermeer and his Dutch contemporaries. The permanent collection of Old Masters – the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister – is not to be missed. Remarkably rich and wide-ranging, it has some truly wonderful paintings – including a very famous work by Raphael which most people probably think is in Italy. We will also travel up the River Elbe to visit Meissen, and take a tour of the porcelain factory.

My last trip of the year will be to Vienna from 2-5 December. The Albertina is hosting an exhibition of Modigliani, showing how important he was for the development of modernism (far more to the point than his reputation as a troubled man who painted pretty pictures), while the Belvedere will be showing the artists working in Austria at the time of Dürer – who we don’t think about often as we spend a lot of time looking at Dürer, of course! This will inspire us to visit the Old Masters at the Kiunsthistorisches Museum, and the avant garde – in terms of Klimt and his colleagues – elsewhere.

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