Tickets: £10/ £5 Students on the door (cash only) / Free for Members of the Arts Society Cardiff
The Arts Society Cardiff is a friendly, flourishing organisation of some 180 members drawn from Cardiff and the surrounding area. Their members have a wide range of interests and everyone is welcome. They meet at 2pm on the second Thursday of each month (except July, August and December) in the comfortable and lively surroundings of Chapter Arts Centre to enjoy a varied programme of illustrated Lectures given by experts in their field.
11 January 2024, 2pm: Adrian Sumner
Decoding Famous Paintings: How to Unlock the Secrets of the Great Artists
Contained in every work of art is a world of secrets – a coded language which locks the artwork into its own time and place in history. Added to this, artists have often deliberately obscured the true meanings of their work in symbols and iconography – complete worldviews and philosophies denied to the casual observer, often used at times when telling the real meaning might have resulted in disaster or even death. This lecture looks for the clues which reveal the truth – the keys which unlock the secrets of the great artists and their greatest works, as well as the personal secrets which humanise the myths. It examines, in depth: Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, Van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece, Picasso’s Guernica, Botticelli’s Primavera and a small group of other world-changing pictures.
Adrian has been lecturering at universities and higher education institutions since 1973. He has held the following roles: Director, Development of the Arts in Northwich (1984-1990); Arts Development Officer, Chester City Council (1990-2009); and Arts Development Officer, Cheshire West and Chester Council (2009-). He was a professional painter and illustrator (1973-2001), has undertaken tours and study weekends in UK and Europe, and has organised exhibitions for Chester City Council.
8 February 2024, 2pm: Jonathan Foyle
The State of British Crafts
The speaker has written over 100,000 words in the Financial Times Weekend on craftspeople: their passions, skills and materials. Some of them believe they are the last practitioners of their craft. How and why do people transform raw materials into works of art? How do their hands and tools transform raw materials into works of utility and beauty? And how do they see their prospects as inheritors and conduits of hand-crafted tradition in an industrialised world of mass production?
Dr Jonathan Foyle is not an 'establishment' academic, but uses the original research he has gained over a 25-year practical career in the world of historic buildings and applied arts to inform architectural conservation projects, broadcasts, books, articles, and talks for groups including the Arts Society. A former Curator at Hampton Court, and Chief Executive of World Monuments Fund Britain for eight years, he has authored seven volumes on great cathedrals and castles, and is best known for presenting series such as BBC2's Broadcast Award-winning Climbing Great Buildings and contributing to series like Channel 4's Time Team and currently Channel 5's Secrets of the Palaces. His talks combine humour with personal insights to offer in-depth and fresh analyses of architecture, furnishings, sculpture, paintings and their all-important symbolism, through which we can better understand them.
14 March 2024, 2pm: Julian Halsby
John Singer Sargent: a Life Through Pictures
Sargent’s life is full of movement – born in Italy, he studied in Paris, painted portraits in London, produced oils and watercolours in Venice, was a First World War artist, and spent the later years of his life painting murals in Boston. My lecture looks in depth at his amazing portraits analysing just how he captured the character of his sitters and looking back to Van Dyck and Gainsborough. I look in detail at his Venetian oils and sparkling watercolours and outline the Anglo-American society in the Palazzo Barbaro that he frequented while in Venice. I look at his paintings done in the Alps with his friends while travelling down to Venice, and show his wartime watercolours. This is a sparkling lecture full of colour which shows that Sargent is a master in both oils and watercolours, as well as being a charming, musical and cosmopolitan man.
Julian studied History of Art at Cambridge. Formerly Senior Lecturer and Head of Department at Croydon College of Art. Publications include Venice - the Artist's Vision (1990, 1995), The Art of Diana Armfield RA (1995), Dictionary of Scottish Painters (1990, 1998, 2001, 4th edition 2010), A Hand to Obey the Demon's Eye (2000), Scottish Watercolours 1740-1940 (1986, 1991), A Private View - David Wolfers and the New Grafton Gallery (2002). Interviews artists for the Artist Magazine and is a member of the International Association of Art Critics and The Critics Circle. A practising artist, he was elected to the Royal Society of British Artists in 1994 and appointed Keeper in 2010.
11 April 2024, 2pm: James Russell
Paul Nash: A Life in Pictures
Based on James' book Paul Nash in Pictures: Landscape and Dream, this lecture tells the story of Paul Nash's life through a selection of his finest paintings, supported by photographs and other material. From his own writing we learn that Nash was witty, playful and passionate. Investigating paintings like Event on the Downs we discover a world of love and struggle and realise that he was both clever and emotionally driven. A war artist in both World Wars, Nash defied chronic illness to paint until the last day of his life, leaving us with a unique vision of the British landscape.
Having studied History at Pembroke College, Cambridge, James Russell enjoyed a lengthy stint selling contemporary paintings and sculpture in Santa Fe, New Mexico, an experience that inspired him to begin writing and lecturing on 20th century art. Of his dozen or so books, one was a Sunday Times book of the year, while his writing has been described by critics as 'insightful', 'informative' and 'enjoyably readable'. James has curated major exhibitions at Dulwich Picture Gallery and for museums around the country. He bases his lectures on wide-ranging original research into the subjects that fascinate him.
9 May 2024, 2pm: Lucia Gahlin
Art for the Afterlife: Ancient Egypt Tombs
The ancient Egyptians had extremely elaborate burial practices and funerary beliefs. In this lecture Lucia sheds light on the mysterious world of the Ancient Egyptian afterlife by exploring the art on the walls of tombs. She will focus on the tombs of the New Kingdom period (c1500 – 1000 BC) when Egypt was at the height of its power and prosperity under pharaohs such as Tutankhamun and Ramesses II. She will explore the scenes on the walls of royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings, the nearby tombs of their high officials and the small but colourful tombs of the artists responsible for all funerary art on the west bank at Luxor during this time. She will also introduce the audience to the stunning array of funerary goods with which high-status ancient Egyptians chose to be buried – both a feast for the eyes and of much religious significance.
Lucia is an Egyptologist who has worked in museums and on excavations in Egypt but currently mainly lectures; she is a former Honorary Research Associate at University College London’s Institute of Archaeology as well as lecturing in Egyptology at several other UK universities. Lucia also works at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology in London and leads tours to Egypt. She is a former Director of the Bloomsbury Summer School at UCL, Chair of the Friends of the Petrie Museum and Trustee of the Egypt Exploration Society. Her publications include Egypt: gods, myths, religion.
13 June 2024, 2pm: Gavin Plumley
Bruegel, the Seasons and the World
In 1565, Pieter Bruegel the Elder was commissioned to create a series of paintings for a dining room in Antwerp. The images, charting the course of a year, changed the way we view the world through art. Landscape had previously been a decorative backdrop to dramas both sacred and profane but in Bruegel's hands the landscape and our interaction with it became the focus. Looking at paintings such as The Return of the Herd, Hunters in the Snow and The Gloomy Day, this lecture explores how Bruegel pioneered a whole new way of thinking about the environment and our individual places within a shifting cosmos.
A writer and broadcaster who regularly appears on BBC Radio 3 and 4 Gavin also contributes to newspapers, magazines and opera and concert programmes. He lectures widely about the culture of Central Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries. Recent appearances include Klimt and The Kiss in cinemas worldwide and talks for the Hay and Cheltenham Literature Festivals, the Royal Opera House, the National Gallery, the National Trust, the National Theatre, the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. His first book, A Home for All Seasons, is out now.
12 September 2024, 2pm: Andrew Prince
From Downton to Gatsby: Jewellery and Fashion 1890 to 1929
The commission to produce jewellery for the series and film Downton Abbey inspired Andrew to create a talk based on this unique period. Jewellery and Fashion are often seen as two entirely separate and distinct fields of design, but this is very far from the case. In his talk, Andrew guides the audience through the extraordinary decades and events between 1890 and 1929, where the great couturiers collaborated with the finest of jewellers to produce jewels and clothes of outstanding quality and glittering opulence. Along with this, he illustrates the clients and patrons who commissioned the jewels and shows how they were worn with their sumptuous gowns.
Andrew Prince has had a passion for jewellery since he was a small child. In August 1987, two weeks after his 16th birthday, Andrew started work in London’s Bond Street, for The Antiques Roadshow expert Ian Harris. Under his guidance, Andrew developed an appreciation for jewels that were valued for their quality of design and craftsmanship, rather than for how much the stones in the piece were worth. He then joined the renowned contemporary jeweller Elizabeth Gage and worked with her on design and production. She was to have an enormous influence on Andrew's sense of what was possible within the realm of jewellery design. Private commissions then started to trickle in. The trickle turned into a flood, as celebrities such as Michael Jackson (a large crystal and pearl shoulder jewel) and Shirley Bassey (necklaces) were seen wearing Andrew's creations. In 2002 the Victoria and Albert Museum commissioned a collection of jewels to accompany the resplendent Tiaras, Past and Present exhibition which became one of their most popular exhibits. The exposure gained by the show led to Andrew's jewellery appearing in film. In 2005 he was asked to make tiaras and jewellery for Mrs Henderson Presents starring Judy Dench. In 2009 pieces were commissioned for The Young Victoria starring Emily Blunt and Miranda Richardson. In 2012 he was chosen by the creators of Downton Abbey to supply a large collection of jewellery for the third series.
10 October 2024, 2pm: Dr Meri Arichi
Arts of Zen Aesthetics of Simplicity
Zen Buddhism has exerted a profound influence on the formation of Japanese visual culture since its introduction in the 13th century to the present day. Zen Buddhism’s emphasis on the practice of meditation, self-discipline and the austere lifestyle appealed to patrons from the warrior class and Zen teaching became the dominant philosophical basis that supported the development of the distinctive aesthetics of the 15th and 16th centuries. Many of the art forms, such as ink painting, dry landscape gardens and Noh drama developed during this period.
Dr Meri Arichi studied Art History in London and Florence and worked at Christie’s in Kings Street, London from 1989 to 1993. She completed Post-graduate Diploma in Asian Art (1994), MA (1996) in History of East Asian Art and PhD in Japanese Art (2003) at the School of Oriental and African Art, University of London (SOAS). She taught History of Japanese Art in the Department of History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS as a Senior Teaching Fellow from 2007 to 2016. She worked as a tutor for the Post-graduate Diploma in Asian Art course at the British Museum from 2001 to 2007 and at SOAS from 2008 to 2016. She contributes to the Diploma course at SOAS as a guest speaker now. She has run courses at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Birkbeck College, the British Museum and the Coutauld Institute Summer School. She is Trustee of the Japanese Women’s Association in Great Britain and the Chair of the Circle of Japanese Art London.
14 November 2024, 2pm: Sardina Arantxa
Joaquin Sorolla: The Master of Light
Joaquin Sorolla hated darkness. Claude Monet once said that painting in general did not have enough light in it. Sorolla could not agree more. Sorolla believed painters could never reproduce sunlight as it really is, and he could only “approach the truth of it”. Most of us when standing in front of one of his canvases would agree he was the master of light. He managed to capture like no other the light of the Mediterranean beaches he loved and the energy of Spanish life. He painted what he saw, quickly, to capture that precise moment. As he said "I could not paint at all if I had to paint slowly.
Arantxa Sardina is an official volunteer guide at the Tate, covering the permanent collection and some of the temporary exhibitions at both galleries, Modern and Britain. She completed her MA in Art History at the Open University in 2019 where her dissertation focused on fellow Spaniard Joaquin Sorolla, the master painter of Mediterranean light and a friend of John Singer Sargent. She is also an enthusiastic amateur musician, playing the cello and the piano and a lover of opera and ballet.