Saturday 20th July 2024 (CEST)

2009-10 season's lectures

Lecture: October 2009

Images of Cleopatra, an exploration of her life and its portrayal in art and music.

Elizabeth Rumbelow

BA BMus DipEd
Cleopatra by Tiepolo

We all know some details about Cleopatra's life, which culminated in her doomed love affair with Antony, and her tragic death. But - what was she really like? This lecture endeavours to untangle the reality from the myths and legends which sprang up around this extraordinary queen - who was the last ruling Pharaoh of Egypt, using slides of sculpture and paintings to illustrate key moments in her life.

Cleopatra by Reni

We will see how artists have been inspired by her throughout the ages, with scenes from her life and portraits of her. These range from medieval days to 1982, and include painters such as Tiepolo, Jan de Bray, Guido Reni and William Etty.

In the final part of the talk, we will see how composers, including Handel, Arensky and Samuel Barber, also found her a fascinating subject, with short extracts from the music inspired by this charismatic queen. Biographical details
Elizabeth Rumbelow has an honours degree in English (Bristol University) and an honours degree in Music (University of London). She also studied Old Icelandic at the University of Copenhagen, having gained a Churchill Foundation Scholarship. After experience in advertising and journalism, her main career was devoted to teaching, culminating in the post of Head of English at Guildford High School. Her speciality is the inter-relationship of the arts, especially painting, music and drama. As well as her NADFAS lecturing, she has also undertaken English editing for the Chopin Society of Warsaw on their website and for a Polish Professor of Music.
Elizabeth talked to us about Chopin, Delacroix and George Sand in November 2007.

Internet links:

Reading List for Cleopatra in Art and Music:
  • 'Cleopatra' by Lucy Hughes-Hattett, Pimlico, 1997.
  • 'The Search for Cleopatra' by Michael Foss, Michael O 'Mara Books, 1997.
  • 'Nefertiti and Cleopatra' by Julia Samson, Rubicon Press. 1985.
  • 'Plutarch's Lives' Book VII and IX, translated Bernadotte Perrin, Loeb Classical Library, 1994 and 1996.
  • "Cleopatra " by Edith Flamarion, Harry M. Abrams Inc 1997.
  • "Cleopatra's Palace " by Laura Foreman, Discovery Books, Orion Publishing 1999.
  • October 2009 - extra lecture

    Morocco: Magic and Mystery - an artist's impression

    Helen Sijsling


    Morocco was love at first sight for so many artists:
    Matisse, Delacroix, Kees van Dongen, John Sargent, Pierre Blanchard, Henri Regnault, Alfred Dehodencq, Mariano Fortuny y Marsal, Francois Benjamin Constant, Georges Clairin, Theodore Chasseriau, Eugene Fromentin, Majorelle, Kandinsky (Tunis), Yves Saint Laurent, Tennessee Williams, Mark Twain, Saint Saens.

    Morocco - picture 1

    Why? The colour and light, the vibrant vitality, the power and intensity, the smells, the mystery, the dreamlike quality. The horses and the women. The exotic and erotic: steaming Turkish baths (the harram) and beautiful naked women (the harem) set fire to the imagination. Delacroix arriving in Tangiers was ecstatic: "I see Goya everywhere around me. It is a place made for painters. Continual scenes of the sublime, vivid and impressive. It is a magical world full of suggestiveness."

    Morocco, a vast colour chart that changes with the hours and the seasons, offers a a sumptuous palette of colours.
    Moroccan landscapes are steeped in limitless shades of blue, red, ochre, green, yellow, orange and pink, Morocco - picture 2 enlivened by the play of light and shadows. In the souks there is a feast of colours: bobbins of silk yarns, multicoloured hats, leather or silk oriental slippers, woven rugs, glazed pottery, brightly coloured brocades, skeins of dyed wool ... an Morocco - picture 3artistic display of colours which is mirrored in the architectural decoration; set behind austere doorways and anonymous walls, palaces are embellished with walls covered by multi-coloured zellig mosaics, carved brown cedar ceilings, white stucco panels.

    Helen studied for her masters degree History of art at Leyden University. She is the Society's Travel co-ordinator.

    Lecture: November 2009

    Royal courts of India

    Ann Peerless

    This lecture on the Royal Courts of India will look at some of the Mughal and Hindu Courts and how one influenced the other.

    From the eighth century onwards, the Muslims invaded India, but it was one dynastic family who stayed to develop an empire which produced one of the richest and most spectacular courts that India had known.
    Some of the Hindu rulers collaborated with the Mughals and prospered; others fought bitterly, with disastrous consequences, but all were influenced by them.
    As the Mughal Empire developed and flourished, so it eventually declined, and it was the turn of the British who came to trade and who took control and expanded, supporting the Hindu Princes and their courts.
    Taj Mahal We shall study the magnificent architecture of forts and palaces decorated with jali pierced screens and pietra dura and the incredibly detailed miniature paintings of the royal courts of the Mughals in Delhi, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri
    Lake Palace-right-hand side Lake Palace-left-hand side
    and Lahore and some of the Hindu royal families including Jaipur and Udaipur with its beautiful Lake Palace.

    All the slides have been taken on site in India or from original manuscripts.

    Biographical details:

    Ann Peerless lectures for the V&A and the British Museum, as well as being a guest lecturer for NADFAS and Swan Hellenic in India and Vietnam. She was previously Course Director and Tutor for the University of Kent School of Continuing Education and Senior Lecturer in Art, Coloma College. She has a wide experience in adult education, schools and Holloway (Women's) Prison. Ann has been commissioned by the Government of India and Air India for design work and photographic exhibitions, and has travelled and researched in India, Taiwan, China and parts of SE Asia.

  • The Mughals, Bamber Gascoigne (1964/5 out of print but may be found in most libraries)...paperback reprint now available.
  • Lives of the Indian Princes. Charles Alien Century Publishing. 1984
  • Emperors of the Peacock Throne,... Abraham Eraly. Penguin

  • websites (Mughal):
    British Museum     BBC     EdWeb Project     Wikipedia

    Lecture: December 2009

    The Medici

    James Gilpin

     medici picture

    The Medici family skilfully established themselves as the unofficial rulers of republican Florence during the Renaissance and went on to become Grand Dukes of Tuscany in the 16th century.

    The lecture explores the development of the family and the economic, political and artistic influences which enabled them to sustain their rule over the city until the early 18th century.

    The following aspects are covered:

    • The development of the Medici bank in the early 15th century
    • The main political events of the 15th and 16th centuries - the exile of Cosimo, the Pazzi conspiracy, the exile of Piero, the election of Leo X and Clement VII and the Sack of Rome
    • Family alliances, infiltration into the church and the French royal family
    • The main artistic commissions, including San Lorenzo, the Medici palace and San Marco
    • The urban residences and rural retreats
    About James Gilpin

    After graduating in Art History from Cambridge University in 1993, James qualified as an accountant and spent over 7 years working in investment banking in the City of London. James, however, has always been passionate about Italian art and culture and has travelled extensively throughout Italy. He began learning Italian at the Italian Cultural Institute in London in 2003 and also completed courses in Rome, Venice and Florence.

    After leaving investment banking in 2005, James decided to devote himself to what he loved most: the Italian visual arts, language and culture. He spent a year living in Rome, working as a language teacher and freelance tour guide, and gained a real insider's view of Italian life.

    As well as managing White Hat Tours (which he founded in 2005), James also works as a freelance lecturer, giving talks on a variety of subjects relating to the Italian visual arts.

    Suggested reading:
    Christopher Hibbert: Florence
    Christopher Hibbert: The rise and fall of the house of Medici
    Paul Strathern: The Medici


    The family (Galileo Project)
    Family Tree
    Chronology (Channel 4)
    Catherine Medici

    Lecture: January 2010


    Bertie Pearce

    BA (Hons)
    The 'Jongleur' by Hieronymus Bosch
    The 'Jongleur' by Hieronymus Bosch (c.1460-1516)
    "... in which it is the very trickery that pleases me. But show me how the trick is done, and I have lost my interest therein." ..... Seneca (3BC-65AD)

    From the beginning of time the fascination with magic and the impossible has been widespread. Egypt was the cradle of magic. Sorcerer Priests used scientific principles to create illusions for the edification of worship and to hold power over the people. Where there was power there was magic. Then there is the age-old skill of sleight of hand, which proves that 'the hand is quicker than the eye'. Magicians were known as 'Jongleurs' lest they be sentenced to death for 'witchcraft and conjuration' under the edicts of Henry VIII.

    With the emergence of the Music Hall, Magic gained a new respectability and audiences flocked in their thousands to watch the extraordinary feats of The Great Illusionists. This gave birth to legendary tricks such as pulling a rabbit from a hat and sawing a lady in half. And if magicians guarded their secrets with their lives, how was the Magic Circle formed ? - Home to 10,000 secrets.

    Even Today in our super technical age of ipods and broadband, the wonder and surprise of magic are as popular as ever, not forgetting the Harry Potter craze.

    Wonder Workers and the Art of Illusion is a whistle stop tour of the history of mystery from 3000BC to the 21st century and be careful! - you might be amazed and bewitched.

    1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke - Pub. by Bloomsbury background
    2. Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold - Pub. by Hodder & Stourton background

    1. The Prestige (2006) Directed by Christopher Nolan
    2. The Illusionist (2006) Directed by Neil Burger

    Extra lecture: January 2010

    Flamenco - traditional to modern - part 2

    Mark Shurey

    Mark is a local osteopath working in Nerja and Granada. He studied Flamenco Guitar for many years.

    This year's presentation by Mark follows on from last January's much-acclaimed talk entitled "Flamenco: Traditional to Modern. An introduction to the world of Modern Flamenco and the understanding between Guitar and Dancer."

    Lecture: February 2010

    Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth

    Jo Walton

    BA Dip Hist Art (Oxon)

    Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth are two of the most popular and important British sculptors of the twentieth century. Between them they revolutionised the way people thought about the human figure and sculpture, making beautiful forms that grew out of their love for the landscape. Both artists were inspired by the art of the past and of other cultures, as well as by the landscape of Britain. At the same time, they were at the forefront of modernism - creating a new language of sculpture, full of abstract shapes, holes and magisterial forms.
    Corinthos by Hepworth Bronze figure by Moore 2 women in shelter  by Moore shelter painting by Moore This talk looks at their lives and works, but also explores the vibrant artistic world in which they moved. We'll look at Moore's remarkable Shelter Sketchbooks from World War Two as well as his tapestry designs, and see how Hepworth's marriage to the painter Ben Nicholson changed both her sculpture and his painting.
    The legacy of these two great sculptors is a body of work that may be abstract, but is filled with a deep humanity and is rooted in the landscapes they loved.

    After university, Jo Walton began teaching and lecturing. She later ran the Atrium Bookshop in Cork Street, in the heart of London's artworld, and worked with Christies. She now combines freelance lecturing with work in publishing and as a Guide at the two London Tate Galleries.
    She talked to us in 2003 (Donatello) and in 2006 (Bernini and baroque Rome).

    Read about:

    Henry Moore     Shelter sketchbook
    Barbara Hepworth

    Lecture: March 2010

    Libya Uncovered -
    The Magnificence of Leptis Magna, Sabratha and Cyrene

    Christopher Bradley

    B Eng (Hons) FRGS
    Biographical details

    Christopher Bradley is an expert in the history and culture of the Middle East. As a professional tour guide and lecturer he has led groups throughout Africa, the Middle East and Asia. He has written extensively on Arabia and is the author of The Discovery Guide to Yemen. As a photographer, he has pictures used by numerous quality newspapers and magazines. Christopher has a broad range of lecturing experience, including to the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Institute of British Architects. As a film producer and cameraman, he has made documentaries for the BBC, National Geographic TV and Channel 4.

    Christopher is a frequent visitor to Nerja, having talked to us about the Magi in 2007 and the Queen of Sheba in 2009.

    Closed for many years, Libya is slowly exposing its ancient Phoenician, Greek and Roman cultures. The 3rd century AD is the golden age of the very finest examples of Roman mosaics and art.

    Ancient rock paintings deep in the Sahara show the artistic skills of semi-nomadic traders 10,000 years ago. The Phoenicians developed the early trading ports of Sabratha and Leptis Magna, whilst the Greeks built the magnificent city of Cyrene. But it was under the powerful Roman Empire that Leptis Magna became the greatest city in Africa, when local leader Septimius Severus became emperor. His huge public buildings are adorned with magnificent carvings, and the private villas of the wealthy show more personal tastes of design and artwork. Many of these villas have only recently been uncovered, showing that the 3rd century AD was the golden age of the very finest examples of Roman mosaics and art. During Byzantine control, a unique Berber culture also developed in the mountains, where they created strange architectural homes and granaries. The arrival of Islam brought new forms of mosaics, Ottoman-influenced mosques and ornate houses inside Tripoli's old city.
    Deep in the Sahara desert are many sites of ancient rock art and old trading towns. One of these is Ghadames, a UNESCO world heritage site famous for its lavishly decorated house interiors.

    More information

    Recommended reading:
    • 'Libya: The Lost Cities of the Roman Empire1 by Robert Polidori (Konemann 1999)
    • Islamic Architecture of North Africa' by Antony Hutt (Scorpion 1977)
    • 'Berlitz Pocket Guide to Libya' by Chris Bradley (Berlitz 2006)

    Leptis Magna:
    Leptis-view 1 Leptis-view 2
    UNESCO website
    Looklex Encyclopaedia
    photo album

    Sabratha:    UNESCO website    Wikipedia    YouTube   

    Cyrene:    UNESCO website    Wikipedia    photo album    Looklex Encyclopaedia   

    Ghadames:    UNESCO website    Looklex Encyclopaedia    Wikipedia    GR Frysinger photos

    Extra lecture: March 2010

    100 years of Nerja

    Pablo Rojo Platero

    A talk about the last 100 years in and around Nerja.
    It will be illustrated with about 80 old prints /photographs (digital presentation with laptop).
    He has written a book about Nerja which has been translated from Spanish into English; it will be on sale after the lecture.

    Lecture: April 2010

    The Pilgrims of Babylon - the artists of Montmartre

    Douglas Skeggs

    MA (Cantab) picture - Rat Mort

    There is no name more evocative of Bohemian life: the high spirits, the decadence and the poverty, as well as the spirit of revolutionary art in Paris, than Montmartre. In reality it was little more than a run-down suburb overlooking the city, a labyrinth of alleyways, bristling with windmills. And yet the shackled studios that spilled down the hillside of Montmartre would become the inspiration and home to some of France's greatest artists. From the Moulin de la Galette where Renoir painted Parisians dancing in the afternoon sunlight, to Toulouse Lautrec's vivid images of the Moulin Rouge, the smoke filled cabaret where the can-can was danced, to the shabby garrets of the Bateau Lavoir where a group of artists headed by Picasso would paint canvases that would shake the foundations of Western art, this lecture charts the course of this extraordinary artistic life.

    Douglas Skeggs
    Douglas Skeggs read Fine Art at Magdalene College Cambridge and has been a lecturer on paintings since 1980. In that time he has given over 4000 lectures to universities, colleges and art societies. He was the director of 'The New Academy of Art Studies' for three years and is presently a regular lecturer at 'The Study Centre', Christie's course 'The History of Art Studies' and other London courses. Among his more improbable venues for lectures are the bar on the QE2, MI5 headquarters, the Captain's Room at Lloyds, and an aircraft hanger in a German NATO base. Overseas he has lectured in Belgium, France, Germany and Spain, and has taken numerous tours around Europe. He helped set up the Abercrombie & Kent "Private Label tours" and is presently cultural adviser to Ultimate Travel. He has written and presented various TV documentaries, notably the Omnibus programme on 'Whistler' and the exhibition video on 'William Morris.' Three one-man exhibitions of his paintings have been held in England and Switzerland. He has published five novels, which have been translated into 8 foreign languages, and his book on Monet, 'River of Light', has sold 30,000 copies in England, America and France.

    Douglas talked to us about Monet in April 2009.

    Lecture: May 2010

    Picasso, Man Ray and Max Ernst through the eyes of Lee Miller and Roland Penrose

    Antony Penrose

    About the speaker:
    photo of Picasso and Penrose Antony Penrose is the son of Roland Penrose and Lee Miller. He is pictured here with Pablo Picasso.

    A personal profile of giant figures in 20th Century art.

    Picasso, Man Ray and Max Ernst were three of the key artists of the 20th Century.
    They were also close friends the Surrealist photographer Lee Miller and the Surrealist artist Roland Penrose.
    This is the hidden story of a unique friendship which spanned the Surrealist movement and the last 30 years of Picasso's life.
    It is told by Antony Penrose, the son of Lee Miller and Roland who visited the artists in their homes and recalls when they came to the Penrose family home of Farley Farm House in Sussex. It is told using the words and images of the artists and those around them.

    This talk contains war and holocaust images that are highly disturbing.

    The following text has been taken from the website of the University of Falmouth. It describes an exhibition entitled "A Surrealists' Holiday", held in Falmouth Art Gallery during the summer of 2005.

    In 1937 an extraordinary group of Surrealist artists took a holiday on the river Fal in Cornwall. Among them were some of the most original painters, sculptors, writers and photographers of the 20th century.

    This summer, Falmouth Art Gallery recreates this unique event in The Surrealists on Holiday, a major new exhibition that opens on 19 June. It promises a fresh insight into the social and artistic world of Roland Penrose and Lee Miller, and features a collection of their previously unpublished photographs of some of the leading lights of the Surrealist movement, including Max Ernst, Man Ray, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Eileen Agar, Leonora Carrington and Paul Eluard. Alongside will be works by each of these artists.

    Roland Penrose is generally credited as bringing Surrealism to Britain and was a driving force of the movement, producing some of its most enduring images. He developed close and lasting friendships with Picasso, Miró, Man Ray, and Ernst. He married Lee Miller, who is acknowledged as one of the greatest photographers of all time. Her photographs of World War II remain some of the most startling images of the atrocities of war ever taken.

    It was while researching a biography of his mother Lee Miller that Antony Penrose discovered the extraordinary photographs taken by her and Roland on that holiday to Cornwall. In the summer of 1937 Roland had rented his brother Beacus's house at Lambe Creek situated by the River Fal in Cornwall.

    Antony Penrose writes in the exhibition catalogue:
    The creeks of the Fal estuary have an ancient reputation as a refuge for wanted men. Smugglers, privateers, pirates and just regular criminals have all defied authority from secret places on these rugged, leafy shores. In June 1937 it was the turn of the Surrealist artist Max Ernst to test their efficacy.

    'Ernst had just arrived from Paris and was staying with Roland Penrose at his house in London when he learned that a warrant had been issued for his arrest. The grounds were that his exhibition at The Mayor Gallery in Cork Street contained pornographic material. Max's work was as always stridently Surrealist, and it was clear that not even the most enthusiastic policeman would be able to bring a charge on the basis of pornography, but there was no mystery as to the origin of the warrant.

    Max had fallen in love with the British painter Leonora Carrington, who aged 20 was 26 years his junior and the daughter of a prominent Lancashire family who vehemently disapproved of the relationship. Leonora's father had persuaded the police to take an interest with a view to having Max deported. Fortunately, Roland had previously agreed to rent his brother Beacus's Lambe Creek House for three weeks and without a word to anyone they all left for Cornwall.'

    Just a few days before his arrival in Lambe Creek, Roland had met Lee Miller, the new love of his life at a fancy dress party in Paris. Roland described the experience of his first glimpse of Lee Miller as being struck by a bolt of lightning. The sensation was compounded when at that precise moment the entire party was thrown out in the street by the owners of the house who had returned unexpectedly, and severely disapproved of their daughter's Surrealist friends.

    For Roland the first two days at Lambe Creek were spent in frantic preparation, filling the house with food and wine against the eagerly anticipated arrival of Lee, who came in the company of Roland's other closest friends, the Surrealist poet Paul Éluard and his wife Nusch, and the Paris-based American photographer Man Ray with his girlfriend Ady Fidelin. photo: Object by Man Ray

    Man Ray's career had forged ahead steadily, and he was recognised as a prominent Surrealist photographer, painter and maker of enigmatic objects. His most famous piece, Object to be Destroyed, was made when he fixed a photograph of Lee's eye to the pendulum of a metronome whilst in a jealous rage. The relentless ticking of the vacillating eye reminded him of every second she was absent with another lover.

    Henry Moore and his wife Irena were visiting Cornwall and called in at Lambe Creek. The Belgian Surrealist poet and art dealer Édouard Mesens arrived to stay. Back in Belgium a few weeks later he would introduce Roland and Lee to the painters Paul Delvaux and René Magritte. He came with Joseph Bard the writer and Eileen Agar, the British Surrealist painter who wrote: 'It was a delightful Surrealist house party that July, with Roland taking the lead, ready to turn the slightest encounter into an orgy. I remember going off to watch Lee taking a bubble-bath, but there was not quite enough room in the tub for all of us. The Surrealists were always supposed to be such immoral monsters, but I for one did not go to bed with everybody who asked me. When would I have had time to paint?' In fact Eileen found time for an intense affair with Paul, while Joseph willingly diverted himself with Nusch.

    World War II was to drastically impact on the lives of all those who took part in this Cornish idyll. By 1952 Paul and Nusch Éluard had died, mainly as a result of the privations they suffered as members of the French Resistance. Max Ernst and Leonora Carrington, Man Ray and Ady Fidelin were torn apart by the war. All but Ady went on to distinguished careers as artists, and Carrington still lives and works in Mexico and America. Roland Penrose continued to work as an artist until he died, but was also known for his biographies of Picasso, Man Ray, Joan Miró and Antoni Tàpies. He was knighted for his services to contemporary art, which included founding the ICA in London. Lee Miller buried her career as a photographer after the war, possibly as a result of the traumas she had witnessed as a combat photographer with the US Army. Her photographs of Max Ernst and his wife the American painter Dorothea Tanning taken in 1950 at Killiow, Beacus Penrose's new house, were some of the last she took.

    Antony Penrose writes: "By now Surrealism in its revolutionary status had been another casualty of the war, with its most vociferously reviled works becoming revered exhibits in museums. But no museum can contain its spirit, and Surrealism is today an inseparable part of our lives, informing us, provoking us and pointing us to a reality that lies beyond our normal compass. Surrealist art and artefacts may be behind glass, but we still have its genius with us, and Lambe Creek has a small part of that genius to call its own."

    Web links:

    Man Ray:    

    Max Ernst:    
    Ernst: eye Ernst: bride Ernst: kiss ABC Gallery    

    Lee Miller:     Lee Miller archive     Wikipedia

    Lee Miller and Roland Penrose's work may be seen in:
    'Angels of Anarchy': Manchester Art Gallery 26th September to 10th January 2010
    'Man Ray, African Art and the Modernist Lens': The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., 10th October to 10th January, 2010
    'Max Ernst, Le jardin de la France': Muse� des Beaux Arts, Tours, France 17th October 2009 to 18th January 2010
    'Lee Miller's Surrealist Eye':
    - Millesgarten, Stockholm, Sweden. 14th November to 14th February
    - Stenersen Museum, Oslo, Norway. 19th June to 5th September 2010
    'La Subversion des Images':
    - Centre Pompidou, Paris. 23rd September to 11th January 2010
    - Foto Museum, Winterthur. 26th February to 23rd May 2010
    - MAPFRE, Madrid. 16th June to 12th September 2010
    'Against All Reason': Wilhelm Hack Museum and Kunstverien, Ludwigshaven. 14 November to 14th February 2010
    'Alias Man Ray - The Art of Reinvention': The Jewish Museum, New York. 15th November to 14th March 2010