Programme Jan – Jun 2023

The Art of Portraiture
Portraiture is a particular artistic skill, the importance of which has varied greatly in
accordance with time and place. The intention is to look at portraiture over the
centuries and in different parts of the world, examining the various motivations for
producing portraits in differing circumstances and the varying types of portrait
produced. This includes investigating how and why styles change and how different
media (such as mosaics or photography for example) affect the impact of the work,
as well as comparing a range of twentieth century self-portraits to discover what
they reveal about the particular talents of the various artists.

Wednesday, 11 January, 2023, 10.30 -12.30, The Arc, Jewry St, Winchester
Fayum Mummy Portraits
Illustrated seminar by Delia Pemberton
The remarkable funerary paintings known as ‘Fayum Portraits’ were produced in Egypt during a
brief period between the late 1st century BC and 3rd century AD, when the region was part of
the Roman Empire. Found chiefly in centres that had already seen extensive Greek settlement
under the Ptolemies, the largest numbers have been recovered from cemeteries in the Fayum
Oasis, hence their popular name.
Made to be attached to the mummified bodies of the deceased, these paintings represent a
development of the traditional mummy masks used in Egypt from around 2000 BC. However,
unlike the ancient three-dimensional masks, which were placed over the mummy wrappings,
these life-sized portraits, representing the head, or head and upper chest, in full-frontal view,
were painted on flat wooden panels that were inserted into the wrappings over the face.
Thanks to Egypt’s dry climate, the Fayum portraits are among the most numerous surviving
examples of the panel painting tradition of the classical world, which went on to
influence Byzantine, Eastern Mediterranean, and Western traditions in the post-classical world,
and offer many fascinating insights into the origins of the painted portrait.

Wednesday, 1 February, 2023, 10.30 -12.30, The Arc, Jewry St, Winchester
Portraits in Rembrandt’s Time
Illustrated seminar by Hendrika Foster
Portraiture was to become one of the most important genres of art in Holland. Self-assured
Dutch burghers were having their portraits painted at a time when, in the rest of Europe, such
activities were reserved for royalty and the nobility. The portraitist was expected to indicate
the calling and social status of the sitter. The dress and pose are reflections of wealth,
profession and convictions. Although accuracy and a good likeness were of paramount
importance, portrait painters tended to develop their own style, which the patron would bear
in mind before selecting the right artist for the commission. For example, Thomas de Keyser’s
portraits are models of precision and refinement, while the spontaneity of technique and
relaxed poses of their subjects make Frans Hals’s paintings instantly recognisable. His depiction
of the smile was his hallmark. It was unusual and he probably used it to enliven his portraits.
Rembrandt was a master of drama and light, his portraits filling a demand for images of
wealthy merchants who wanted an image which conveyed them as worthy, upright and
reliable, encompassing the Protestant Calvinist virtues of prudence and industry. The
manipulation of light and shadow was one of his major emotive resources. This was a token of
genius throughout his career.

Wednesday, 22 February, 2023, 10.30 -12.30, The Arc, Jewry St, Winchester
Theatrical Portraiture
Illustrated seminar by Robin Simon
The portrayal of actors in performance was established by William Hogarth (1697–1764) with
David Garrick as Richard III (1745). This picture looked like what was called a ‘history painting’,
then universally considered to be the highest form of art, the formula for which had been
created by the French academy in the 17th century. But it was also a portrait, something not
allowed in a history painting, which was meant to rise above the particular to the ideal. In all
other respects, however, Hogarth’s picture did conform to the rules: the scene was drawn from
a few lines of a specific literary source and it adhered to the ‘unities’, in showing one action, at
one time, and in one place, a rigid rule of the classical theatre that the French academy had
chosen as the model for artists to follow. Theatrical portraiture can therefore best be
understood as a distinctively British form of history painting. It reached perfection in the hands
of Johan Zoffany and went on to become one of the most popular art forms of the 19th
century, with the public avidly collecting engravings of favourite actors. The enduring
relationship between painting and drama is revealed in the visual sources for Laurence Olivier’s
1955 film Richard III.

Wednesday, 8 March, 2023, 10.30 -12.30, The Arc, Jewry St, Winchester
The Creation of Images in the Byzantine Mosaics Ravenna
Illustrated seminar by Hendrika Foster

Wednesday, 19 April, 2023, 10.30 -12.30, The Arc, Jewry St, Winchester
Idealized Reality: The Art of Portraiture in the Italian Renaissance
Illustrated seminar by Dr Antonia Whitley
During the Middle Ages most art commissioned on the Italian Peninsula served religious
purposes, whether it was for churches, oratories or private devotion. With the Renaissance
that all changed, which is not to say that religious commissions came to an end. However, both
an interest in Man as individual and a fascination with the ancient world, in which portraits of
famous men appeared both in sculpture and on coins, led to a demand for the revival of this
It must have been exciting for artists of the period to be asked for portraits of people who were
actually alive in their own time. It was also a complex undertaking, with potential pitfalls.
Much depended on what the aims were, not so much of the artist, but of the person wanting a
portrait and paying for it.
In this seminar I aim to cover thematically a number of different types of portraits that have
come down to us, including those of rulers – ecclesiastical and lay – to discern what was
important and why. The cult of character and the motions of the mind which, as the
Renaissance progressed, influenced portrait painting will also be considered.
One or two memorable self-portraits cannot be left out. As ever, some trail-blazing artists led
the way and influenced those in their wake.

Wednesday, 3 May, 2023, 10.30 -12.30, The Arc, Jewry St, Winchester
Understanding the work of J A D Ingres
Illustrated seminar by Dr Kathy McLauchlan
Ingres (1780-1867) is misunderstood by admirers and critics alike. Often described as a leader
of the French classical tradition in the 19th century, he is characterised as an enemy to
Romanticism and Delacroix’s greatest opponent. Such an approach belies the contradictions
within Ingres’ work. While Ingres’ antagonism towards the work of Delacroix was real enough,
many of his own paintings (for example The Dream of Ossian of 1813 and Roger and Angelica
of 1819) betray a powerful strain of Romanticism. He was (despite his own protestations to the
contrary) very much an artist of his time.
Ingres’ approach to portraiture was particularly complex. Perhaps the greatest portrait painter
of his generation, he created images that are instantly recognisable as works by Ingres while
also conveying the unique spirit of individual sitters. Over the course of his long career, he set
a standard for portraiture that many imitated and none equalled. Yet Ingres himself regarded
portraiture as a lesser genre and resented the financial imperatives that diverted him from his
true ambition – to win renown as France’s leading history painter. This lecture sets out to
evaluate Ingres’ ambitions as a painter, and the complex nature of his achievement.
Followed by the AGM

Monday, 15 – Friday, 19 May, 2023: Tour to Copenhagen
Details have been circulated separately

Wednesday, 7 June, 2023, 10.30 -12.30, The Arc, Jewry St, Winchester
Aspects of Portrait Photography since 1950
Illustrated seminar by Barry Venning
The seminar will consider aspects and uses of photographic portraiture and, while the main
emphasis will be on images produced since 1950, we will also briefly consider older work
wherever it helps to put recent developments in perspective. The morning will be structured
around specific themes, which will include identity and masquerade, expression and emotion,
celebrity and criminality (at the time of writing no link is intended between the last two but
who knows by June 2023?). The seminar will conclude with an examination of African portrait
photography since the 1950s, which begins as a pure form of commercial portraiture, often of
extraordinary beauty and sensitivity; as time goes on, it also becomes a record of sub-Saharan
societies during a period of rapid social, cultural and political change. The photographs we look
at will include, among others, the masquerade-based works of Cindy Sherman, Maud Sulter
and Samuel Fosso, Sergei Vasiliev’s Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia, the celebrity
portraits of Lew Morley and Philippe Halsman, and the portrait work of Léonce Raphael
Agbodjeou (Benin), Malick Sidibé (Mali) and James Barnor (Ghana).