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…

coming sooner… and later.

There is just one talk in my Raphael series to go – but there will be a ‘coda’ – see below!

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

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! The last talk will cover the final phase of Raphael’s brief but brilliant career, and will include a discussion of his rivalry with Michelangelo, and how he enabled a large workshop to help to make him one of the most productive artists of the Renaissance:

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

I will not be lecturing in August – I’m heading off to do my other job: I’ll be performing in three of the four one-act plays which form Neil Simon’s bitter-sweet comedy California Suite, and if you are a fan of the theatre, and just happen to be near the South coast of Devon, or on the landward side of East Anglia, I will be appearing at the Manor Pavilion Theatre, Sidmouth from 10-21 August and at the New Theatre, Peterborough from 24-28 August. More information on those links!

After that, I’ll need a couple of days to recover – so my next talk will be on a Tuesday rather than a Monday – Tuesday, 31 August, to be precise. One idea someone suggested to me a while back was to lecture about the trips I do, as each visit is only open to a few (a maximum of 10 or 16 people, according to the circumstances). So I’m going to do two unconnected talks inspired by my forthcoming trips to Rome and Stockholm.

On Tuesday, 31 August at 6pm, inspired, in part, by my inability to cover the whole of Raphael in four hours, I will look at the myth of Cupid and Psyche in a talk entitled Following your Head and your Heart – there is more information about it on the Tixoom page via this link. I will fill in the gaps in Raphael’s storytelling with art from across the ages.

On the following Monday, 6 September at 6pm I will then talk about two of the most wonderful, yet little-known artists from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries – Anders Zorn and Carl Larsson, two of Sweden’s greatest painters. As Zorn had a great interest in folk traditions, while Larsson was very important for the future of Swedish design, I have called this How it was and how it could be – although the situation was, of course, more complicated than that. As ever, the link in blue will give you more information, as well as taking you to the booking page.

As a natural sequel to the Raphael 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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