I know that, with the shadow of omicron looming, our horizons seem on the verge of narrowing again, but I do hope you are can still take 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…

How did it get to be December?

Just three more talks before the end of the year… There may be just one or two extras, but I’ll add in the details of those as and when there are any. So far this year I have done a few gallery tours in person – but only for private groups so far – and have been away more often than might be sensible. I am thinking of offering in person tours of London galleries in the New Year to any of you reading this (London, because that’s where the greatest concentration of people are), but will let you know as my plans develop. Meanwhile, I am still mainly on zoom… and here are some details of what is to come.

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…

Nicolas Poussin, A Dance to the Music of Time (detail), Wallace Collection.

My next talk will explore the National Gallery’s perfectly curated exhibition Poussin and The Dance, on Tuesday 7 December at 6pm. More details are on tixoom (click on the blue link), but, apart from anything else, I would recommend this exhibition because it is so focussed: every work of art has a specific reason to be there, and is informed by its presence among the other objects on display, not something that can be said of some ‘padded’ blockbusters.

In the same week, on Monday, I am completing my course on Women Artists for the National Gallery (sorry, they posted it too late for me to include a link here – I might repeat it on Zoom for those who are interested), and on Friday I will delivering a talk for the NG Members which I will expand and repeat for the Solstice (see below), and, the day before that, on Thursday, 9 April at 1pm I will be giving a free talk for the Churches Conservation Trust entitled Giotto and the End of the World. Just head to their Facebook page and it will be live there. If you’re not on Facebook, don’t worry, apparently you should still be able to watch – I’ll try and find out how (for now, see what happens if you click on the above link…). In any case, it will be posted on their YouTube channel later… I will try and remember to post a link to that too, although I seem to have forgotten last time I did one. It’s going to be a busy week, so I’m starting to doubt if I’ll have time to blog about Dürer.

Albrecht Dürer, Lot and His Daughters, NGA, Washington.

As my trip to Vienna has been cancelled (fortunately not due to fire and brimstone, from which Lot and his Daughters are fleeing above…), I find myself with some extra time (which, since first writing this, I find I have successfully filled…), and so will be giving a talk about the National Gallery’s monumental (if slightly padded) exhibition Dürer’s Journeys on Tuesday, 14 December – I had been planning on leaving it until next year!

Geertgen tot Sint Jans, The Nativity at Night (detail), National Gallery.

And my last talk of the year is not related to any of the exhibitions which are on over the holiday season, but a more specific meditation on light – and Christmas – looking at the little known, but entirely wonderful, Geertgen tot Sint Jans (this is a slightly expanded version of the talk I will be giving for National Gallery members, if any of you were wondering). His name may be unpronounceable if you are not Dutch (and I know some of you are!) but his work, little of which survives, is immediately comprehensible. We will focus on the National Gallery’s The Nativity at Night. Some Light for the Solstice will take place on the solstice itself, Tuesday, 21 December at 6pm (i.e. the same time as all the talks). Tickets are now on sale, and you can find more information on Tixoom via the relevant links (in blue) above.

Laura Knight, Ruby Loftus Screwing a Breech-Ring, IWM.

In the new year I will be switching back to Monday evenings, and will kick off with an introduction to the MK Gallery’s superb exhibition Laura Knight: A Panoramic View on Monday, 10 January. As ever, the talk will not be recorded, so apologies if you can’t make it.

My last trip of the year should have been to Vienna, but Austria has gone back into lockdown… We will go instead in April, when The Albertina is hosting an exhibition of the work of the idiosyncratic work of Edward Munch. We will also visit the Old Masters at the Kiunsthistorisches Museum, and look at the avant garde – in terms of Klimt and his colleagues – elsewhere.

In September I should have visited Stockholm, but in the end that was not possible. Instead there will be two trips next year, from 26-29 May and 29 May – 1 June 2022 (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! We are currently planning other visits for next year, and ideas so far include a return to Porto and the Douro Valley, and return to Dresden, and the long-delayed visit to Lille.

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