Artists have always used jokes to make serious statements – about themselves, about each other, about the world, and about the nature of art. This lecture looks at artists’ jokes – from the margins of medieval manuscripts to Marcel Duchamp’s moustache on the Mona Lisa, from trompe l’oeil to Dutch tavern scenes with coded warnings against the sins of the flesh, from Michelangelo’s self-portrait in skin on the Sistine ceiling to Magritte’s pipe, from Arcimboldo to Banksy…..
How did a German refugee from Hitler become the Grand Old Man of English art history? The answer lies in a remarkable one-man survey of every architecturally important building in England. Talks are on Pevsner, his background, and his amazing career. One explores what he said about the buildings in your area. Others look at his views on modern architecture, his writing on religion and church architecture, his relationship with Betjeman, his crusade at Penguin Books for 'art for all', his definition of 'Englishness' in art, and his long campaign to save Victorian architecture from destruction.
Stained glass tells stories. It has been used to play politics, bribe bishops, recruit soldiers and tell jokes. The most remarkable subjects appear in its panes, from miracles to Mandela, tanks to Tiffany, Burne-Jones's water-closet to Churchill's cigar. This talk is tailored to your area to include local stories - your saints and your sinners.
Are animals our friends, foes or alter egos? From the animal-headed Egyptian gods to the sinister hybrids of BritArt by way of Botticelli's centaur, Stubbs' race-horses, Goya's bullfights, Turner's whales, Seurat's circus and Hockney's cat Percy, this talk looks at what artists, in portraying animals, have been trying to tell us about ourselves.
I am an accredited lecturer for NADFAS. I have also spoken at the Cheltenham and Bridport literary festivals, and at the British Museum, the V&A, the Imperial War Museum, the Victorian Society, the 20th Century Society, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Migration Museum, the Council for At-Risk Academics, Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution, Persephone Bookshop, Suffolk Book League and a range of Art Fund and National Trust groups.