summer school 2013
browse by key words: art and politics
WEEK ONE: 8 - 12 July 2013
Course 7: Dr Natalia Murray
Russian Art 1863-1932: Innovations, Influences and the Roots of Modernity
This course examines the history of Russian art in all its diversity from the first artists’ rebellion against St. Petersburg’s almighty Art Academy in 1863, the blossoming of arts in Russia’s ‘Silver Age’, to the upsurge of avant-garde art and its subsequent disappearance after 1932, when Socialist Realism became the only artistic style permitted in the Soviet Union. We will look at the cultural as well as geographical boundaries of Russian art, and its contact with developments in European art as well as the shifts of cultural context, which often occurred through emigration, cultural export, exhibitions, publications, and collaborations. The complex nature of the Russian avant-garde, its origins and roots, will be examined throughout the course. We will also look at traditional Russian art and icons and their influence on the Russian avant-garde, and will discuss the works of Repin, Serov, Benois, Bakst, Somov, Vrubel, Malevich, Tatlin, Kandinsky, Filonov, Rodchenko, Chagall, Popova, and others. Lastly, we will examine the influence of political changes in Russia under Stalin on the development of Russian art. Visits include the Victoria and Albert Museum (Ballets Russes drawings and stage designs); the Naum Gabo archive at Tate Britain; the British Museum, and The Courtauld Gallery.
Course 8: Dr Richard Cork
Making it New: Modernism in the Early 20th Century
With seismic explosiveness, young artists across Europe changed the course of painting and sculpture soon after the new century began. A series of revolutionary movements erupted, beginning with Fauvism in France and Expressionism in Germany. The Italian Futurists were the most clamorous but the Cubists in Paris proved the most far-reaching. Then, in 1914, London was shocked by the advent of Vorticism and its rumbustious magazine BLAST. This course explores the rebellious momentum of an exciting period. However, it terminates in the tragedy of the First World War when many avant-garde artists found themselves caught up in a blood-bath. Visits include The Courtauld Gallery’s display of twentieth-century art, Tate Modern, the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art and the Imperial War Museum.
WEEK TWO: 15 - 19 July 2013
Course 11: Dr Richard Williams
Art and the Reformation
The Reformation ran in parallel with the Renaissance in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe, each exerting a profound effect on the visual arts. Often caricaturing the Protestant Reformation as purely destructive, art history has usually downplayed or overlooked the ways in which it shaped and re-directed the arts. Cranach collaborated with Luther to reinvent religious art so that it avoided medieval ‘superstition’, and other German artists, including Dürer and Holbein, took different approaches in adapting to the changing climate. Bruegel and others developed new, less controversial subjects such as landscapes, still-life, and genre scenes. We can also detect a new ‘Protestant sensibility’ in the art of Rembrandt whose down-to-earth realism contrasts so dramatically with the grandiose works of Rubens, a representative of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. Moreover, the Reformation forced a re-evaluation of the purpose of the visual image, shifting from a religious icon to a ‘work of art’, admired for its beauty. This course looks at the art of Northern Europe from the destruction of a rich tradition of medieval art to the flourishing of new and often very moving works. Visits will include the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum Department of Prints and Drawings.
Course 14: Gail Turner
The Arts in Spain in the 16th and 17th Centuries: Patronage by Church and State under the Habsburgs
This course is an introduction to the extraordinary wealth and variety of the arts in Spain - from the post-Islamic sixteenth century to the end of the Habsburg era. Spain’s vast empire attracted talented artists, architects and sculptors from all over Europe. Italian and Flemish prints were often the initial inspiration for many artists of Spain’s Golden Age of the seventeenth century. Spain led the Counter Reformation against Protestantism and the Spanish Church commissioned vast numbers of religious images during the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Realism was considered most effective in communicating the Catholic cause. This is reflected in the paintings of Velázquez, Zurbarán, and Murillo, and in contemporary sculptures, some of which even incorporated ivory teeth and glass eyes. This period saw the origins of the enduring tradition of popular processions, during which life-size images of Christ and the Virgin were paraded round the streets. Meanwhile the court in Madrid commissioned grand-style portraiture and decorative schemes, demonstrating the formality and the power of the Habsburg Empire while seemingly ignoring the realities of the impending political and economic melt-down. Visits will include the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Wallace Collection and The Courtauld Print Room.
Course 15: Dr Klara Kemp-Welch
Art and Revolution: East European Art from 1917-1989
This course offers a survey of modern and contemporary art from the former Soviet Union and the Central European Soviet satellites. We will focus on the dynamic relationship of artistic practice to the rise and fall of communism in the Soviet bloc. The first part of the course will explore painting, photography, film and design in the decades following the revolution of 1917, mapping the aspirations of avant-garde figures like Kasimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko, Sergei Eisenstein, and Dziga Vertov, and the rationale for the introduction of Socialist Realism as official orthodoxy in 1934. In the second part of the course we will focus on the emergence of non-conformist art in the decades following the denunciation of the Stalinist Cult of Personality by Khrushchev, in 1956. Our discussions will include Tadeusz Kantor’s theatre, International Mail Art practices, and the installations of Ilya Kabakov, among others, and will explore relevant writings by key dissidents such as Václav Havel. The course concludes with an examination of the seismic transformations of 1989-91 and their implications for cultural life in the ‘former-East’. Visits include relevant displays in London collections and some of the newer galleries showing East European art, including Calvert 22 and Regina London.
Course 16: Dr Matthias Vollmer
The Shadows of the Past: Art in Germany from 1945 to Today
Denouncing avant-garde art movements like Expressionism, Dada, Surrealism, New Objectivity and the Bauhaus as ‘degenerate’, the Nazi regime promoted a ‘true German art’ mostly in the tradition of German nineteenth-century realistic painting. After World War II, West German abstract artists such as Willi Baumeister, Ernst Wilhelm Nay and ‘Wols’ sought to come to terms with the traumatic legacy of the country's recent history. Simultaneously, East German artists like Bernhard Heisig and Werner Tübke presented idiosyncratic interpretations of official ‘Socialist Realism’. In both Germanys artists developed distinctive versions of modern and postmodern art - at times in accord with their political cultures, at other times in opposition to them.
Joseph Beuys and Anselm Kiefer were the first to gain an international reputation. Joerg Immendorf and Georg Baselitz brought about a revival of figurative painting and, after his escape to West Germany, Dresden-born Gerhard Richter together with Sigmar Polke introduced the notion of ‘Capitalist Realism’. We shall also explore the ‘neutral’ views of industrial architectural forms by Bernd and Hilla Becher and the art of Neo Rauch, ‘the painter who came (in) from the cold’. These complex developments will be examined in the context of relevant political and cultural discourses in post-war Germany.
WEEK THREE: 22 - 26 July 2013
Course 18: Caroline Brooke
Art, Money and Power: Medici Patronage in Florence c. 1420-1570
The name ‘Medici’ is synonymous with artistic innovation and achievement during the Renaissance in Florence. This course examines the art patronage of more than five generations of the dynasty, from the emergence of the family as a political force early in the Renaissance, to the establishment of the grand duke dynasty that reigned for almost two centuries. It focuses on the commissions of Cosimo the Elder, Piero the Gouty, Lorenzo the Magnificent, and Cosimo I Grand Duke of Tuscany, in order to consider how the political, religious and social aspirations of individual members of the Medici family shaped the cultural and artistic life of the city. The works of major Florentine artists such as Donatello, Fra Filippo Lippi, Michelangelo and Bronzino are examined in relation to the tastes and aspirations of their patrons, as manifestations of civic pride, devotion, and personal ambition. Issues such as familial pietas, the varying fortunes of the Medici bank and the political climate of the period are also considered in relation to the development of Medicean patterns of patronage. Visits include the British Museum, the National Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Please note that Dr Scott Nethersole’s Study Tour to Florence from 27 – 29 September will pursue some of the themes of power and patronage discussed during the week. Both course and tour are, however, entirely freestanding events and attendance at one does not require attendance at the other.
Course 19: Dr Miriam Di Penta
‘The Marvel of the World’: Art and Politics in Baroque Rome
Around 1595 two young, ambitious artists moved to Rome from their native cities of Bologna and Milan: Annibale Carracci and Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. Thanks to the patronage of Cardinals, Popes and secular aristocrats, these painters and their pupils would lay the foundations of a new pictorial language. Their individual and opposing classical and naturalist styles, blended with the vital Colorismo of Rubens’ altarpieces of 1608 for the Chiesa Nuova, provided the Catholic Church with a highly effective new instrument of Counter-Reformation propaganda: the glorious art of the Roman Baroque. The course will look at its development from the papacy of Paul V to the triumphs of the Barberini and Chigi pontificates and beyond, with an in-depth analysis of the works of Caravaggio and his circle, the Carraccis, Bernini, Borromini, and Poussin, among others. We will also consider the politics of vision, and the shifting relationship between art, power and tradition. We will discuss the development of art collecting, art criticism and the art market and how the revolutions in philosophy, science and poetry influenced art and society at large. Visits include the National Gallery, Apsley House, the Wallace collection, Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Baroque galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Course 22: Professor Timon Screech
Power and Opposition in the Shogun’s Realm: Painting and Print making in Edo Period Japan
The early modern, or Edo Period (1603-1868) was one of the great periods of creativity in Japanese history, coming after some two centuries of civil war. Edo (now Tokyo) was the world’s largest city, and the site of massive production and consumption. Other metropoles, such as Kyô (now Kyoto), Osaka and Nagasaki developed their distinctive styles and practices, though much dependent on Edo. This course will consider the visual make-up of the whole Shogunal state, and as such will go beyond the standard materials of art historical analysis. We will consider the visual realm in its widest terms, such as urban planning and memorialisation, gardens and open spaces, as well, of course, as castles with their palatial interiors, and more routine decorations in paint, print or carving. The first half of the course will look at the arts of authority, notably the official Kano School, and the religious arts. The second will analyse the perhaps more vibrant popular schools, and the emergence of the world-famous Japanese woodblock print. We will go beyond old-fashioned notions of the Japan of this period as ‘isolated’, and inspect its international dimensions, in links with the Continent (China and Korea) and with Europe.
WEEK FOUR: 29 July - 2 August 2013
Course 28: Dr Richard Williams
Van Dyck and Art at the Stuart Court
Anthony van Dyck revolutionised painting in England, transforming the stiff formality of Tudor portraits into dazzling works of art. This, together with patronage of other great artists of the age such as Rubens and Bernini, enabled James I and Charles I to establish the Stuart court as a centre for the arts of European importance. Artists glorified the Stuart kings in new ways, including court entertainments (‘masques’) that used revolving stages and trap doors to create breath-taking spectacles. Unrivalled art collections of the greatest works of Titian and other Renaissance masters were formed, which exerted their own influence on Van Dyck and his contemporaries. We will also consider what part Charles I’s love of the arts played in his downfall, and re-evaluate the fate of the arts under Oliver Cromwell. Recent research has shown that Cromwell’s regime continued to exploit painting and other art forms to further its cause, even adapting Van Dyck’s portraits of King Charles to promote its image at home and abroad. Visits will include the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Banqueting House in Whitehall where many of the masques were performed and where Rubens’ great painted ceiling survives in its original location.