Programme Jan – Jun 2020

Friday 10 January 2020: Visit to the British Museum for guided tour of Portrait of an Artist: Käthe Kollwitz Exhibition with Monica Bohm-Duchen
The exhibition celebrates the humanity and enduring impact of one of the most influential 20th Century printmakers – Käthe Kollwitz. We will explore about 40 works with our guide, Monica Bohm-Duchen, who is an expert on Kollwitz and other German artists of the period.
We will travel independently to the British Museum with time for a short coffee break before our guided tour of the exhibition, using a VOX system. We will lunch independently. There are no formal arrangements for the afternoon but members may wish to purchase tickets for a concurrent exhibition – Inspired by the East: How the Islamic World influenced Western Art.
A detailed itinerary will be issued nearer the date.
Maximum number: 20

Wednesday 15 January 2020, 10.30-12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre

The Bauhaus 1919-2019: One Hundred Years of Modern Design

Illustrated seminar by Dr Anne Anderson

Founded in the wake of the World War under the leadership of Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus strove to create a design ethos for a brave new world. Buildings and interiors, domestic things used on a daily basis, needed to reflect the demands of modern industrial life rather than hark back to historical forms; functional and utilitarian imperatives ousted decoration, now seen to be superfluous. Indeed, some even viewed decoration as a form of corruption; the New Objectivity demanded rational, functional, sometimes standardized building.  Consequently, the Bauhaus aesthetic was driven by the sleek lines of cars, ships and planes. Designers experimented with new materials such as tubular steel and plywood. The mantra of the Bauhaus shifted from art and craft to art and industry, with furniture designer Marcel Breuer conceiving industrial prototypes. Only by embracing mass-production and standardisation could good design be truly democratic. Driven by socialist ideologies, design gained a political imperative.  Inevitably the school, based in Weimar, soon experienced political pressure from conservative circles in local politics. Moving to Dessau, Gropius designed a new school as well as housing for the Bauhaus masters, who numbered the artists Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky, as well as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, its architectural director. It was Mies who directed the last years of the Bauhaus in Berlin before it was closed by the Nazis.  With many of those associated with the Bauhaus immigrating to America, Modernism was transformed into an international style that dominated architecture until the 1970s. It’s still with us in the 21st century; the iconic Bauhaus chairs quite at home in the post-modern home.

Wednesday 22 January 2020, 10.30-12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre

Belonging and Not Belonging: The Immigrant Experience in Modern British Art

Illustrated seminar by Monica Bohm-Duchen

Whether we choose to admit it or not, British art has been enriched by the presence of artists from elsewhere for many centuries. This seminar will examine an important yet often overlooked aspect of modern cultural history: the experience, reception and contribution of émigré artists to this country from the late 19th century to the present day. The diverse backgrounds of these artists notwithstanding, certain leitmotifs recur: the initially ambivalent, often hostile response of the “host” culture; issues of “otherness”, displacement, dislocation and loss; xenophobia versus  internationalism; the creative tensions between assimilation and separatism, integration and isolation, mainstream and margins, and the more recent concepts of globalisation, multiculturalism and cultural hybridity. Artists to be discussed include Hans Holbein, Anthony van Dyck, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent, David Bomberg and Mark Gertler, John Heartfield and Oskar Kokoschka, Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach, Anish Kapoor and Mona Hatoum, Chris Ofili and Yinka Shonibare.

Wednesday 5 February 2020, 10.30-15.00, Winchester Discovery Centre

The Art of 15th and 16th Century Venice

Study day led by Hendrika Foster

Venetian propaganda promulgated through its architecture and art was of the myth of the Republic as a perfect state, with the Doge as a figurehead of La Serenissima, Venetian Republic. The initial impetus for painting followed the overall grandeur of the mosaics of San Marco, with extensive use of gold leaf as well as paint on panels following on from the International Gothic style of early 15th century Europe. Giovanni Bellini became Pictor Laureatus – painter to the Doge in 1483.  He established Venice as an artistic centre on a level with Florence, assisted by the work of the young Titian and Giorgione in his workshop.

At the turn of the 16th century Venice was at the height of her power.  After the deaths of Giovanni Bellini and Giorgione, Titian assumed priority but continued to greater heights painting the Pope in Rome and the Holy Roman Emperor in Augsburg.  He greatly extended the genres of art produced and became the artist of choice for Philip II of Spain.  He is known as the father of portraiture and master of mythological poesie, as well as traditional history painting. Portrayal of Venetian power, elegance and grandeur continued in the often huge canvases of Veronese with allegorical, biblical and historical themes.  Venice imported the highest quality colour pigments and vivid colour became the absolute mark of Venetian artists.  Why reserve the best lapis lazuli for the Virgin Mary when it can be used to paint sky?  Finally, Tintorettoinherits all of the former themes and adds to them a sense of exuberant energy in his work which often prefigures the Baroque.  In the following century his work would inspire Rubens as the great Venetian Republic began its slow decline.

The study day will comprise 3 talks, 2 in the morning and 1 after lunch, with ample time for questions. It will include a break for coffee and biscuits in the morning and a short break for a buffet lunch.

Tuesday 25 February 2020: Visit to the National Gallery for guided tour of 15th and 16th Century Venetian Artists with Dr Antonia Whitley

Venice in the Golden Age

In the second half of the 15th century and 16th century, Venice was a city at the height of her economic powers. Merchants, trading with the East, brought an influx of luxury goods to the city’s markets and novel ideas to its fabric, all of which would influence the city’s art and architecture. This was an age which would produce some of the most visually exciting works in western art.

The Bellini family, father Jacopo and his two sons Gentile and Giovanni, would set the artistic standard which would then be taken up by Titian and Giorgione, Tintoretto, Veronese, and many others. All these artists are represented at the National Gallery. From the patronage of confraternities, or scuole, to public programs and princely commissions, we will aim to consider portraits, mythologies and luminous Madonnas set against Venetian landscapes –  all contributing to the richness and beauty of Venetian painting.

Travelling independently to London we will meet in the National Gallery cafe for coffee and pastries prior to our tour of works by Venetian artists which will be led by Dr Antonia Whitley using a VOX system. The tour will last about 2 hours after which we will lunch independently. In the afternoon members may wish to view a small exhibition on Bomberg and the Old Masters. This exhibition is free.
A detailed itinerary will be issued nearer the date.
Maximum number: 20

Wednesday 4 March 2020, 10.30-12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre

The Elizabethan Miniaturists

Illustrated seminar by Dr Gillian White

Miniatures give us a glowing, delicate and intimate image of the Elizabethans. In this seminar we’ll look briefly at the techniques of 16th century miniatures, their likely origins in France and their popularity in the Tudor Court with artists such as Holbein. The focus then moves to a detailed consideration of Nicholas Hilliard, the greatest English painter of the period. In his jewel-like portrait miniatures he has left us an unforgettable legacy of colour, pattern, symbolism and likeness, giving us the illusion that we really know these people who circled around the queen. But Hilliard also left a written text and through that we gain an insight into the opinionated thoughts and practices of an Elizabethan artist. His increasingly stylised works held sway at the Elizabethan court for many years but, as Gloriana’s reign crept on into artistic stagnation, younger miniaturists appeared, bringing with them a renewed interest in the art of the continent. Most prominent amongst these was Isaac Oliver, whose three-dimensional, naturalistic style captured a new aesthetic. The lives of Hilliard and Oliver carry us through to the early years of James I and the new age of Stuart connoisseurship but we must surely see the miniature as one of the great achievements of 16th century England: “even the work of God and not of man”.

Wednesday 18 March 2020, 10.30-12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre

Palladio and the English Palladian Country House – POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19

Illustrated seminar by Barbara Peacock

The work of the Italian architect, Palladio, has been an enormous source of inspiration to British architecture. This lecture will discuss Palladio’s importance on the development of the Palladian country house in England. We shall look at Palladio’s work in the Veneto, where he built villas for gentlemen-farmers in the 1550s-80s and see how his ideas were brought to England in the early 17th century by Inigo Jones. Jones’s buildings and designs and Palladio’s seminal work The Four Books of Architecture (1570) were going to have a profound influence on the form and decoration of our great early Georgian houses, like Houghton, Holkham, and Chiswick and countless others built in the great building boom of the 1720s-50s. The English gentry saw Palladio’s villas as an evocation of the Roman villa they had read about in the classical authors and as a perfect setting for the works of art they had collected on the Grand Tour. The lecture will discuss the architecture, interior decoration and furnishing of these great houses and see to what extent they followed Palladio’s ideals, and will consider how the influence of Palladio is still alive in country house design today.

Wednesday 22 April 2020, 10.30-12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre

German Expressionism – POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19

Illustrated seminar by Richard Thomas

The visual languages formed before the First World War in Dresden by the Die Brücke Group and in Munich by the Der Blaue Reiter Group characterise German Expressionism. We will look at the contrasting attitudes and ideas that developed in these two centres. The Der Blaue Reiter Group brings to mind the spiritual notions and abstract emphasis of work by Kandinsky and Schoenberg. The Die Brücke Group brings to mind the emphasis on an untamed inner self, filled with Dionysian joie-de-vivre, and the work of Kirchner and of Nolde. ‘German Expressionism’is a term that can be traced to a wide variety of sources. It provided a counterweight for the journalists to the word ‘Impressionism’. An exhibition in Bonn organized in the summer of 1913 was the first that appeared with the heading ‘Expressionists’ but was not intended to offer any kind of programme. The first monograph on the subject of Expressionism by Paul Fechter (Munich 1914) prescribed limits that remain largely valid but the terminology remained undefined. The study session will consider the varied intentions represented by German Expressionism and their possible relationship to the context of cultural criticism responding to mass urbanisation and the new consumerism. We will also consider the huge success of the movement and its opposition from both the political left and the right.

Thursday 23 – Tuesday 28 April 2020: Art and Architecture of Portugal – POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19
Tour lecturer Barbara Peacock
Tour details circulated separately

Wednesday 20 May 2020, 10.30-12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre

The Macclesfield Psalter and the East Anglian Medieval Manuscripts – POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19

Illustrated seminar by Dr Stella Panayotova

The discovery of the Psalter at Shirburn Castle, in the library of the Earl of Macclesfield, caused a furore in 2004. The Macclesfield Psalter has been pronounced ‘a world heritage item’, ‘a treasure-trove of European culture’, ‘the most important discovery of an English work of art in a century’, ‘a window into the world of medieval England’, and ‘the missing link in the development of East Anglian illumination.’ Indeed, the manuscript demonstrates the vigorous exchanges between local traditions, metropolitan fashions and continental trends in 14th  century England. This small prayer book is one of the most imaginative and finest illuminated manuscripts to survive from a particularly dynamic and transformative period in the history of English painting. Its 250 leaves are painted with incomparable skill in gold and precious pigments. The seminar will focus on the Psalter’s design, production, patronage and meaning by exploring its profuse illustration, peculiar iconography, and diverse painting materials and techniques. It will discuss these aspects with comparison to related East Anglian Manuscripts, placing them in the context of religious, cultural and political events of the period c.1300-1340.

Followed by the AGM

Wednesday 3 June 2020, 10.30-12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre


Illustrated seminar by Rosalind Whyte

The Glasgow Boys were a group of radical young artists who challenged the art establishment and the dominance of classical subject matter in Scotland.  In the early 1880s, united by their disillusionment with academic painting, they painted contemporary rural subjects, often working outside, directly in front of the motif.  This allowed them to produce paintings that were true to nature and to paint realistic objects in their natural environment. They were influenced in this by the social realism of certain Dutch and French artists, particularly the naturalist painter, Jules Bastien-Lepage.  Their scenes of Scottish rural life challenged the art promoted by the Edinburgh oriented Scottish art establishment of the time and began a shift to

Glasgow as the epicentre of art, which was supported by a group of wealthy industrialists in that fast-growing and industrialising city. They were always a loose grouping of artists, who provided each other with support, but all of them also continued to look elsewhere for inspiration.  By the late 1880s several of them began to take an interest in Celtic design and Japanese prints, so that the early rural naturalism evolved in many separate and distinct directions, often in stark contrast to their early work.

Wednesday 17 June 2020, 10.30-12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre

The YBAs (Young British Artists) – POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19

Illustrated seminar by Barry Venning

The label ‘Young British Artists’, later abbreviated as YBAs, was first coined by Michael Corris in the journal Artforum in 1992 to refer to a loose affiliation of artists, many of whom, such as Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Sarah Lucas and Michael Landy, had studied at Goldsmith’s College of Art under Jon Thompson and Michael Craig Martin in the late 1980s. There was no ‘group style’ to their work, although it often appeared brash and crude, frequently using unconventional materials,  sometimes borrowing from mass culture and deliberately courting controversy.  The original core of the YBAs showed their work at the influential self-curated exhibition, Freeze, in 1988. After attending the private view, Charles Saatchi began to acquire substantial holdings of their works, together with those of other Young British Artists such as Jake & Dinos Chapman, Chris Ofili, Rachel Whiteread, Yinka Shonibare, Tracey Emin, Sam Taylor Wood and many others. Saatchi displayed them in a series of high profile exhibitions, first at his own galleries (in Boundary Road and County Hall) and later, in 1997, at the Royal Academy’s Sensation exhibition, which attracted 300,000 visitors, many of whom were drawn by the media frenzy that surrounded the show. Sensation subsequently travelled to Berlin and then to the Brooklyn Museum, New York. There it received acclaim and abuse in equal measure (Rudy Giuliani threatened to withhold the museum’s funding), but it also demonstrated conclusively that the art of the YBAs was no less strident, challenging, sophisticated and spectacular than that of their American contemporaries.