Birkbeck Eighteenth-Century Research Group: Professor Geoff Quilley – 26 February 2020

Lecture: Wednesday 26 February, 6-8pm – Keynes Library, School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square. WC1H 0PD

Professor Geoff Quilley, University of Sussex: ‘The Economy of Human Life: Arthur William Devis’s Representations of 1790s India’

Following his 1783 shipwreck on the island of Palau on board the East India Company ship Antelope, the entrepreneurial artist Arthur William Devis diverted his career to India, following the legendary wealth of Company officials and traders. On the back of a successful portrait-painting business, in the 1790s he embarked on a highly ambitious (and ultimately over-ambitious) painting and print-making project representing the arts, manufactures and customs of Bengal. Putatively titled ‘The Economy of Human Life’, the project was never in the end completed, but the resulting pictures provide an unprecedented combination of colonial ethnography and genre painting’s scrutiny of the mundane, together with historical and philosophical research into Indian society based on the scholarship of Sir William Jones’s Asiatick Society of Bengal.

This paper will examine Devis’s artistic project in the context of East India Company commercial and colonial politics, to argue for its significance not just for the understanding of the visual culture of British India, but for the understanding of British art’s inextricable engagement with commercial empire.

Geoff Quilley is Professor of Art History at the University of Sussex, specialising in the relation of British and western visual culture to empire and global expansion in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He was previously Curator of Fine Art at the National Maritime Museum, London, and has written and edited numerous books, including Empire to Nation: Art, History and the Visualization of Maritime Britain, 1768-1829 (Yale University Press 2011). His new book, British Art and the East India Company, will be published by Boydell and Brewer in May 2020: https://boydellandbrewer.com/subject/maritime-history/british-art-and-the-east-india-company-hb.html

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Georges Bataille Essay Reading Group – Spring Term 2020

All are welcome to attend the newly arranged Bataille Essay Reading Group this term.

For more details please email Chris Milton on: cmilto02@mail.bbk.ac.uk.

Suggestions for essays to discuss in subsequent meetings are welcome. We may move from Bataille’s essays to longer texts in subsequent terms.

Wednesday 22 January 2020

7-9pm

Room 106

The first essay to discuss will be The Passage from Animal to Man and the Birth of Art, which can be found in the volume Bataille, Georges, The Cradle of Humanity: Prehistoric Art and Culture, Zone Books, 2009. Photocopies of the essay can be picked up from Anthony Shepherd  on request.

Future dates:

Wednesday 26 February 2020: 7-9pm, Room 106, 43 Gordon Square

Wednesday 25 March 2020:7-9pm Room 106, 43 Gordon Square

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Murray Seminars Spring Term 2020

We’re pleased to announce the details of this term’s Murray Seminars on Medieval and Renaissance Art at Birkbeck.

Seminars take place at 5pm in the History of Art Department (43, Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0PD) in The Keynes Library (Room 114), unless stated otherwise.  Talks finish by 5.50pm to allow those with other commitments to leave, and are then followed by discussion and refreshments.  These talks are supported by the Murray Bequest in memory of the Department’s founder Peter Murray, and are open to all.

This term’s papers are as follows:

3rd February (previous date 27/01 has been changed):

James Hall, ‘Embattled Exclusivity: the Aesthetics and Politics of Michelangelo’s Attack on Flemish Painting’.

In a dialogue composed by Francisco de Holanda, Michelangelo launches a diatribe against painting produced in Europe north of the Alps, attacking what he sees as its crowdedness and materialism; its lack of order and discrimination; its sentimentality and its popularity with the ignorant and especially with women. This talk explores Michelangelo’s disparagement of Flemish painting within its rich cultural and political context. His antipathy draws on a historic association between those who lived north of the Alps with the Goths and Vandals who destroyed ancient Rome. Their modern mercenary descendants were still invading Italy, and their artforms – musical as well as visual – had done so too. However, Michelangelo’s main concern was less with Flemish art, than with the fact that it was so influential on Italian artists, including Michelangelo himself. To make matters worse, he was working in the Sistine Chapel, filled with supreme products of Flemish culture, and things were not going well.

25th February: Please note this event has now (as at 18 February 2020) been cancelled   

Federico Botana, ‘A gift for Giuliano di Lorenzo de’ Medici? The Aritmetica by Filippo Calandri’ 

The Aritmetica (Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana, MS 2669, c. 1485) is one of the most lavish libri d’abbaco (mathematical treatises) that has come down to us from Renaissance Florence. The Aritmetica is illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, many consisting of lively scenes relating to trade, crafts and games. It has been thought that the manuscript was created for Lorenzo di Piero de’ Medici. The evidence that will be presented in this seminar, however, strongly suggests that a member of the Dell’Antella family commissioned the manuscript, and that it was later given to Lorenzo for use by his son Giuliano, the future Duke of Nemours.  In addition to presenting evidence on the original ownership of the manuscript, the paper discusses the contents and readership of libri d’abbaco, and the personality and intellect of Giuliano de’ Medici, which at a young age made him a worthy recipient for such a gift.

16th March:  

Sarah Ferrari ‘Provenance matters: acquisitions of Venetian Renaissance art in Northern Europe between the First and the Second World War’.

This paper sheds new light on the dynamics of the European art market by investigating a group of paintings that were acquired by the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, Sweden, between 1917 and 1954. The group includes works attributed to Titian, Tintoretto, Schiavone and Veronese, some of which were once part of the celebrated collection of Queen Christina of Sweden (1626-1689). The paper offers an account of both documentary sources and material aspects, in order to identify the network of collectors and dealers involved, while at the same time analyzing the role of national identity as a driving force in the context of these acquisitions.

We hope to see you soon,

The History of Art Department, Birkbeck

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LRS Seminar – Power and Objects in Portraiture 6 December 2019

Paris Early Modern Seminar & London Renaissance Seminar

Power and Objects in Portraiture

Keynes, Birkbeck School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square (am) and National Portrait Gallery (pm)

6 December 2019 – 9.30am – 5.00pm

9.30-13.00 PART 1: Portraits: Manufacture, Meaning and Money

9.30-10.25 PANEL 1: Making the portrait: Images and things

9.30-9.50: Robert Maniura (Birkbeck), ‘What can (Renaissance) portraits do?’

9.50-10.10: Anne-Marie Miller-Blaise (Sorbonne nouvelle), ‘Expanding arenas of influence: Spheres, perspective, surfaces and the painter’s instruments’

10.10-10.20 Discussion

10.20-11.35: Panel 2: Men in Meetings

10.20-10.40: Matt Dimmock (Sussex),  ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls: Robert Cecil’s Portrait in the NPG’

10.40-11.00: Karen Hearn (UCL, London) ‘Men in Black and a Turkey Carpet: Images of the 1604 Somerset House Conference’

11.00-11.20 Ladan Niayesh (Paris Diderot), ‘Evolutions of the oriental carpet motif in state portraits: Tudor to Stuart’

11.20-11.35 Discussion

11.35-12.00pm COFFEE

12.00-12.55 PANEL 3: Representation: Inside and outside the gallery

12.00-12.20 Anne-Valérie Dulac (Sorbonne Université), ‘The Lustre of Power in Nicholas Hilliard’s ‘Phoenix’ Portrait of Elizabeth’

12.20pm-12.40

Mathilde Alazraki (Paris Diderot), ‘Euro-Persian Self-Staging and Feminine Power in Teresa Sherley’s Portraits (1622-4)’

Respondents & discussion 12.35-12.55/13.00

13.00-14.30 – LUNCH and walk to NPG

14.30 Convene upper foyer National Portrait Gallery (to left of ticket desk)

(times include presentations of 10 minutes followed by discussion with the group)

WALK 1 14.30-15.35 Portraits and power: presentations and discussion

14.35 pm-14.50 ROOM 2

Eva Lauenstein (Birkbeck),  ‘‘“Death painted on their houses”: Female lineage and the portrait of Sir Henry Unton’

14.50-15.05 ROOM 2

Béatrice Fuga (Sorbonne nouvelle), ‘Henry Lee’s Fickle Harmony: Of Knots and Spheres’

15.05-15.20: ROOM 2

Nicholas Thibault, ‘John de Critz’s portrait of Sir Francis Walsingham between shadow and light’

15.20-15.30 pm SHORT BREAK

WALK 2: 15.30-16.30 The image abroad: courts, places and power

15.30-15.45 ROOM 4

Clare McManus (Roehampton), ‘Death by Fashion: John Fletcher’s Portrait and the Performance of Gender’ John Fletcher by an unknown artist from c. 1620 (hanging in room 4 – NPG 6829).

15.45-16.00 ROOM 4

Torben Lund (Birkbeck), ‘Anne of Denmark, Royal Consort’

Anne of Denmark (12 December 1574 – 2 March 1619), Queen of Scotland (1589- 1619) and Queen of England (1603-19)’ John de Critz the Elder, Oil on Panel, 1605-10.

16.00-16.15 Lauren Working (Oxford), ‘Anne of Denmark’s Imperial Gaze’

16.15-16.30

ROOM 5 Fanny Morasin  (Sorbonne nouvelle), ‘Anne Clifford’s Ornamented Hair and the Assertion of Filial Legitimacy’

16.30-: Discussion, Tea break in NPG café & free time (NB NPG is open late on Fridays).

 

The London Renaissance Seminar (LRS) is a forum for the discussion of all aspects of early modern history, literature, and culture. It meets regularly at Birkbeck School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square. Anyone with a serious academic interest in the Renaissance is welcome and no registration is necessary.

For further information about this seminar contact Sue Wiseman: s.wiseman@bbk.ac.uk and Eva Lauenstein: lauenstein.eva@gmail.com . To join the LRS mailing list, please contact Tom Healy: t.f.healy@sussex.ac.uk. Twitter: @LondRenaissance

 

 

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Murray Seminars Autumn Term 2019

Welcome to the new academic year! We’re pleased to announce the details of this term’s Murray Seminars on Medieval and Renaissance Art at Birkbeck.  You’ll find a poster attached, which we hope will be of interest to you and your colleagues or students.  I’d be most grateful if you could display it on any noticeboards, or circulate it to any forums where you think it would be of interest.

Seminars take place at 5pm in the History of Art Department (43, Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0PD) in The Keynes Library (Room 114), unless stated otherwise.  Talks finish by 5.50pm to allow those with other commitments to leave, and are then followed by discussion and refreshments.  These talks are supported by the Murray Bequest in memory of the Department’s founder Peter Murray, and are open to all. No booking required.

This term’s papers are as follows;

Petr Uličný, 16th October, 5pm

The Origins of Renaissance Architecture in Bohemia

This seminar considers the leisure architecture of Central Europe in the Renaissance. He explores how two kings of Bohemia, Mathias Corvinus and Vladislaus Jagiello, hired foreign architects to bring the fashion for Renaissance architecture to central Europe. The Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand I, continued to do the same. As a result, palaces in Prague and Kutná Hora were built or ‘updated’ in styles which could be decades-old in their native Italy, but entirely novel in their new surroundings.

Michael Carter, 12th November, 5pm

Relics and monastic identity in late medieval England


Michael Carter, Senior Historian at English Heritage, analyses the importance of relics in the construction of monastic identities in late medieval England. Focussing on two Benedictine (Battle and Whitby) and two Cistercian (Hailes and Rievaulx) abbeys. He suggests that monasteries used relics to promote and sustain their wider religious role until the time of the Suppression, and that relics were also used to affirm relations between religious houses. The paper will also give an idea of the broad range of sources available for the study of the cult of relics at English monasteries, and show that significant material remains unexplored or capable of reinterpretation

Laura Jacobus, 4th December, 5pm

Faces and Enigmas: maker-portraits by Giotto and Giovanni Pisano

During the later middle ages, the questions ‘who makes an art-work?’ and ‘what is a portrait?’ had no simple answers.  The person who commissioned a work of art could be seen as the person responsible for its creation, and the person we call the artist could be regarded as just one of the means employed to make it. The word ‘portrait’ was not in use (at least not in its modern sense), and images of people were not expected to look like anyone recognisable. Giotto and Giovanni Pisano were two of the most famous artists working in Italy in the years around 1300 and they wanted recognition in every sense of the word. But how?

We look forward to seeing you,

The History of Art Department, Birkbeck

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CFP: British Orientalism at Royal Holloway and the Watts Gallery – deadline 31 July 2019

Call for papers

To coincide with Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village (WG-AV) exhibition John Frederick Lewis: Facing Fame (9 July – 3 November 2019) this interdisciplinary event aims to explore new perspectives on the intersection between Orientalism and visual culture across the nineteenth century. Alongside WG-AV’s John Frederick Lewis exhibition, the collection of so-called ‘uncomfortable pictures’ at Royal Holloway (which includes Edwin Long’s Babylonian Marriage Market) will act as a catalyst for wide-ranging debates around Orientalism’s place within British scholarship today. This conference invites contributions that explore the visual material of the Orient in the contexts of transculturation, imaginative geographies, and cultural border crossing in both directions. This event hopes to attract a wide range of perspectives and invites proposals from scholars in all sub-fields of the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Deadline for submissions: 31 July 2019

Please send submissions to Abbie Latham at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village (curatorialtrainee@wattsgallery.org.uk) by 31 July 2019

Full details at:

https://www.wattsgallery.org.uk/eastern-questions-new-perspectives-british-orientalism/?edit&language=en-gb

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Murray Seminar: Luca Palozzi, The Holy-Water Basin of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas in Pistoia, – 12 June 2019 5pm

On Wednesday, 12th June, Luca Palozzi will be speaking about his latest research on a strange and little-known work by Giovanni Pisano. We’ll return to our usual location in the History of Art Department at Birkbeck (43, Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0PD) in The Keynes Library (Room 114) at 5pm.  The talk will finish by 5.50pm (allowing those with other commitments to leave) and will then be followed by discussion and refreshments.

Luca Palozzi

The Holy-Water Basin of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas in Pistoia,

c. 1270: Petrography, Materiality and Function

Giorgio Vasari writes in his Lives of the Artists that Giovanni Pisano “carved in marble the holy-water font of the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista in Pistoia,” and that this work, “by reason of its having then been held very beautiful, was placed in the centre of that church as a remarkable thing (come cosa singolare).” Despite Vasari’s mention in his Lives, the Pistoia holy-water basin remains little-known. The scant literature focusses on issues of style, date and authorship, failing to address the reasons why contemporary observers considered the Pistoia holy-water basin a truly beautiful and remarkable object. This paper explores this object’s surprising materiality, considering Nicola and Giovanni Pisano’s daring technical and artistic experimentations with stones and minerals scarcely used in monumental sculpture from the period. Their knowledge of materials, as well as their awareness of liturgy, crucially informed the making of this extraordinary object. The basin casts light on the ‘material turn’ of the 1260s and 1270s in Italian sculpture–a phenomenon whose magnitude and importance still await to be assessed.

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Birkbeck Eighteenth-Century Reading Group: 13 Feb 12pm Room 106

Birkbeck Eighteenth-Century Reading Group: led by Anna Jamieson, PhD Student in History of Art,  Birkbeck

‘The Sentimental Look in the Asylum: Henry Mackenzie and Sophie von La Roche at Bedlam

Wednesday 13th February, 12-2pm, room 106, School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square

Anna Jamieson will introduce two texts which describe visiting Bethlem Royal Hospital, commonly known as Bedlam, during the latter decades of the eighteenth century: Henry Mackenzie’s novel The Man of Feeling (1771) and Sophie von la Roche’s diary entry of her visit in 1786 (attached).

By comparing a literary and first-hand account of a visit to Bethlem, this session will consider the ways in which eighteenth-century tourist practices surrounding medical sites (or as Mackenzie calls them, ‘sights’) were informed by preconceived behavioural ideals. Spanning a period when Bethlem had recently put an end to its infamous practice of allowing the general public to view the mad, these sources mark a crucial turning point in the display of human suffering. Situating these texts amongst a number of key contemporary themes, discourses and debates – including emerging behavioural codes and the notion of performance within certain medical spaces, and how wider concepts such as detachment, disinterestedness and consumption may have impacted a visit and subsequent response – this session will frame Bethlem as an eighteenth-century ‘Dark Tourist’ destination, aligned with, but singular from, other spectacular sites along London’s tourist trail.

The session aims to generate further discussion about the relationship between suffering and spectacle. We will consider how wider sympathetic discourses impacted viewing society’s ‘unfortunates’, which in turn led to a proliferation of texts which instructed individuals ‘how to look’ at suffering.

  • Henry Mackenzie, The Man of Feeling (Berwick upon Tweed: John Taylor, 1800), pp.51-61
  • Sophie von La Roche, Sophie in London 1786: being the diary of Sophie v. la Roche. Translated from the German, with an introductory essay, by Clare Williams; With a foreword by G.M. Trevelyan.(London: J.Cape, 1933), pp.161-173

All very welcome! Please  contact Kate Retford – k.retford@bbk.ac.uk – for any further information.

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The Centre for Museum Cultures Reading Group – 13 November 2018 6pm

The Centre for Museum Cultures was launched at Birkbeck on 19 October 2018.

Based in the School of Arts, it involves academics from across the College in various disciplines, including museology, history of art, media and culture studies, history, English and humanities. It will provide a hub for intellectual exchange and debate relating to all aspects of museology, curation and heritage. It will host an annual programme of seminars, lectures and conferences involving academics and a wide range of museum professionals.

Do have a look at the Centre’s website here http://www.bbk.ac.uk/museum-cultures/ and sign up to their mailing list to receive occasional updates regarding events.

The Centre has established a new Museum Cultures Reading Group, whose aim is to explore readings and key ideas in the field. The group welcomes participation from colleagues, museum professionals and PhD students interested and engaged in museum-related research.

The Museum Cultures Reading Group will meet for the first time in room 106 at the School of Arts (43 Gordon Square) on Tuesday 13 November at 6pm:

If you wish to come please rsvp to Mark Liebenrood on m.liebenrood@gmail.com.

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Art History Sessional Tutors required  – London Region

Art History Sessional Tutors required  – London Region

£24.50 per hour + Benefits

Can you help Britain’s leading adult education charity change people’s lives?

We are the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA), a unique charity and the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of adult education. We were recently rated “Good” in all categories by Ofsted and we aspire to be outstanding. Since 1903, we have been offering disadvantaged adults the opportunity to return to learning – inspiring them to realise their full potential and become active, engaged citizens. We deliver courses to 50,000 people in 2,300 locations across England and Scotland. Our focus is on social purpose and change and we achieve this by bringing great teaching to local communities. We run courses in community venues such as workplaces, schools, libraries and even the local pub!

We currently require sessional tutors in our London Region to deliver History of Art courses.

We need tutors with:

  • a subject specialism
  • experience of working in community settings with diverse students
  • a strong understanding of adult learning and a belief in its importance
  • a teaching qualification at least at Level 3 or you will be keen to work towards a teaching qualification
  • excellent interpersonal and organisational skills
  • a desire to share and improve teaching practice
  • Up to date CPD

WEA assumes you will be excited by using digital technology both in the classroom with the student and to manage course administration and communication.

You will be required to have a basic or enhanced DBS check to teach in certain venues or with certain student groups. Because we serve people from all walks of life, we’re keen to develop a diverse workforce and particularly welcome applications from members of minority groups.

Interested? Please visit http://www.wea.org.uk/tutors/work-us and apply directly by sending your CV to rrobshaw@wea.org.uk

If you have any specific questions, please email them to rrobshaw@wea.org.uk

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