ArtHistory ArtHistory Fall 2017

More Than Meets the Eye: Six Epic Paintings that Reveal Their Times

Call (408) 247-0731 or email for information and registration.

Map and Directions

On-Line Registration

Thursdays, Sept. 28 - Nov. 9, 2017 (no class 10/26)

All lectures will be at the Triton Museum of Art, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Fee: $85 TMA members, $105 general admission
($20 drop-in fee per lecture)

Sometimes one only needs to stand in front of a painting to know that there is a lot more going on than we might perceive. Who are all those people and what in the world are they doing? These are the questions we will explore when Chief Curator Preston Metcalf takes us on another journey through Art History, revealing the hidden messages of some very large – and very crowded – paintings.

Art History - Spring 2017
September 28, 2017

Gu Hongzhong, The Night Revels of Han Xizai, c. 960, scroll painting, ink on silk

Artist as secret agent? That is precisely what happened when the 10th Century Chinese Emperor Li Yu sent the artist Gu Hongzhong to infiltrate and paint the goings-on of a high-level courtier whom he suspected of practices that could be damaging to his government. Apparently bad behavior amongst peripheral government figures is a timeless phenomenon.

Art History - Spring 2017
October 05, 2017

Anonymous, The Bayeux Tapestry, c. 1066, embroidered cloth

History is written – or in this case, embroidered – by the winners. In 1066 the Norman King William – Conqueror to be – invaded England and at the Battle of Hastings, defeated the Anglo-Saxon King Harold. If only King Harold had been able to see the as yet uncreated Bayeux Tapestry, he would have known that his defeat was foretold in the heavens. It is propaganda of a new dynasty portrayed in a grand scale.

Art History - Spring 2017
October 12, 2017

Michelangelo, The Last Judgement, 1535-1541, fresco

For five centuries the election of every new pope has taken place before the altar-wall fresco my Michelangelo, The Last Judgement. Revolutionary and controversial in its day, Michelangelo gives us more than a visual retelling of Biblical doctrine. It is nothing less than an account of a civilization under attack, in which social commentary supersedes dogma.

Art History - Spring 2017
October 19, 2017

Raphael, The School of Athens, 1509-1511, fresco

When asked to produce some decoration for the Pope’s library, Raphael delivered in grand fashion. Among the four frescos, The School of Athens stands out as the ultimate homage to the classical forebears of the Renaissance, and the role of the artist in portraying the ideals implied in this rebirth. Along the way he also gave us a veritable who’s who of contemporary portraiture of his fellow Renaissance artists

Art History - Spring 2017
November 02, 2017

Rembrandt, The Night Watch, 1642, oil on canvas

In an age of corporate portraiture, in which the newly rich merchants of Amsterdam celebrated their success, Rembrandt’s The Night Watch was not particularly well-received. It was not that Rembrandt did not portray his commissioners well enough, it is that he saw them and the world they inhabited all too well. This ability was Rembrandt’s curse, and history’s great fortune.

Art History - Spring 2017
November 09, 2017

Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884, oil on canvas

So much more than dots! Part documentation of the competing values and moralities of Parisian society, part scientific study, Seurat’s masterwork is among the great proclamations of a new world order in which human certainty is challenged at every turn. What we think we see is no longer the end-all of discussion in an increasingly relative world.

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