Lectures

"Renoir and the Woman of Paris," by Anne Distel, independent scholar, March 7, 2012. In characterizing Renoir's art, Cézanne once said that his old friend had "painted the woman of Paris." Cézanne's insight provides the point of departure for this lecture, which takes a closer look at Renoir's female figures.

"Fashioning the Mistress," by Gloria Groom, The Art Institute of Chicago, February 22, 2012.  Between 1866 and 1872 Renoir featured his mistress Lise Tréhot in more than thirty paintings, ranging from small and intimate genre scenes to the full-length canvases that he exhibited. Tréhot, wearing the most up-to-the-minute fashions, served as Renoir's calling card by advertising the artist as a painter of modern life, and especially of the fashionable Parisienne.

"Charles Ryskamp: A Life in Arts and Letters," by Matthew Hargraves, Yale Center for British Art, February 15, 2012.  Charles Ryskamp (1928–2010) served as the Director of The Frick Collection from 1987 to 1997. Under his leadership the Frick underwent a profound evolution and embarked on a new era of growth and innovation. In conjunction with the exhibition A Passion for Drawings, this lecture will explore the fascinating life and collecting interests of this remarkable scholar, teacher, connoisseur, and collector through the magnificent drawings he bequeathed to the Frick.

Between 1874 and 1885 Renoir—unlike other Impressionists—produced large-scale works in both full-length and horizontal formats in which he explored the grandeur of Parisian life, leisure, and fashion.

Mark Strand, recipient of the Gold Medal for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2009, discussed works in the permanent collection from a poet’s point of view, focusing on women depicted by Vermeer, Chardin, Gainsborough, Renoir, and Whistler. The Artists, Poets, and Writers Lecture Series is made possible through the generous support of the Drue Heinz Trust.

Painters of the Venetian Renaissance are best known for their monumental altarpieces, narrative and mythological canvases, and intimate works for private devotion. Many of the same masters engaged in the ornamental arts as well, painting panels for integration into beds, chests, musical instruments, and doors. Susannah Rutherglen describes this less familiar genre, traces the fortunes of surviving artifacts, and discusses their themes, styles, and relevance to the history of Italian Renaissance art.

In the spring of 2010 Bellini’s St. Francis in the Desert underwent an unprecedented technical study at The Metropolitan Museum of Art that incorporated infrared reflectography, X-radiography, surface examination, and paint analysis. The results, which are presented in this lecture by Charlotte Hale, expand our understanding of the evolution and history of this spectacular, enigmatic painting. This lecture was made possible by the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation.

In Bellini’s great masterpiece, the traditional relationship of figure to setting has been reversed, thus engaging us in a way that transforms our experience of the picture and our understanding of the artist’s creative genius. Keith Christiansen will discuss the impetus behind this transformation and its implications for interpreting the picture’s much-discussed subject. This lecture was made possible by the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation.

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