Museums and theatres are now open, and we can now leave the UK to visit a limited number of countries. Plans are afoot for foreign visits, and before long there will be more plans for face-to-face talks… Delta variant allowing. 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…

coming sooner… and later.

My next series of talks will be about Raphael:

The Raphaels in One Room
Mondays, 5 – 26 July at 6pm BST.

2020 marked the 5th Centenary of the death of Raphael at the tragically young age of 37. The exhibition planned for Rome was delayed, and then, when it did open, was sadly seen by fewer than might have done otherwise, due to the global pandemic. The National Gallery’s exhibition was postponed even more – and will finally see the light of day in March next year. Mid-way between the two it seems worthwhile to stop and look at the art itself, drawing on the Roman exhibition and looking forward to the one in London.

At first glance there isn’t much of a connection between Caravaggio (the subject of my last series) and Raphael – although they died at more or less the same age (Caravaggio was 38), and both were named after archangels (Caravaggio was christened Michelangelo Merisi) – but, in the same way that the National Gallery in London has three paintings by the Baroque master which perfectly tell the story of his development, there is one room in the picture gallery of the Vatican Museums which does the same for Raphael. However, in addition to three paintings, which illustrate his early, mature and late styles, the room in question also houses the tapestries which he designed for display in the Sistine Chapel. Consequently my next series will be stretch to four talks – one dedicated to each of the paintings, using them as embodiments of the different phases of Raphael’s development, and putting them in the context of his other works (notably those in the National Gallery), and also there a lecture dedicated to the tapestries themselves. This will include a close look at the cartoons – the original paintings from which the tapestries were woven – which are owned by the British Royal Collection, and on long term loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Unlike previous talks I will only be doing them once (as a result of other commitments) but, as before, I will not be recording the talks – please accept my apologies if you are not free at 6pm. 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! At the moment there is only a limited amount of information about the individual talks on Tixoom, but I will fill out the details over the next few days.

Monday 5 July, 6pm
A Boy from Urbino (via Perugia): The Coronation of the Virgin

Monday 12 July, 6pm
To Florence and Rome: The Madonna of Foligno

Monday 19 July, 6pm
Telling Yarns: from Cartoon to Tapestry

Monday 26 July, 6pm
Competition and Collaboration: The Transfiguration

As a natural sequel to this series, my first planned trip abroad takes place from 8-12 September: The Art and Architecture of Raphael in Rome was originally planned to coincide with the Raphael exhibition last March. Nevertheless, there is always plenty of Raphael to see in the Eternal City, and we will see as much as it as possible, including an early morning private view of the rooms painted by the master – en route to the Sistine Chapel, which we will have to ourselves. At the moment this trip is fully booked – but there is a waiting list… Art History Abroad are also running a second trip – the same programme, but with two of my colleagues teaching – in case November would suit you better – plus there are a couple of places still available: The Art and Architecture of Raphael in Rome II 3rd – 7th November 2021.

16 – 19 September will see a welcome return to Stockholm. 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.

18 – 21 October we will be heading to Ravenna and the Comacchio Lagoon. Having started the year with a lecture on the glorious mosaics, 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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