summer school 2014
keywords: art and politics
WEEK ONE: 14 - 18 July 2014
Course 6: Dr Natalia Murray
Russian Art 1863-1932: Innovations, Influences and the Roots of Modernity
This course is now FULL
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 7: Dr Richard Cork
Making it New: Modernism in the Early 20th Century
This course is now FULL
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.
Course 8: Dr Katie Hill
Contemporary Chinese Art: Practices and Debates from 1989 to the Present
This course offers a survey of contemporary Chinese art starting with the first major exhibition held in Beijing in 1989. We will focus on movements in contemporary art concurrent with rapid urbanisation and economic developments in China during the 1990s. The course will trace China’s relationship with the international art world as it emerged during a decade of globalisation, and explore the Chinese avant-garde’s quest to find a distinct artistic voice. Following decades of Socialist Realism, contemporary Chinese art is characterised by a diversification of media and by the re-emergence of classical forms and ideas in art practice. We will consider a wide range of artistic expression, from photography, installation, and performance to painting and sculpture. Finally, the course will cover the phenomenon of the new Chinese art world that emerged at the turn of the millennium and evolved rapidly with the rise of art districts, new museums, auction houses and galleries. Throughout, we will focus closely on works by a number of key artists, including Yang Fudong, Ai Weiwei and Zeng Fanzhi, and place the development of contemporary Chinese art, and its relations to the international art world in the context of the country’s challenging political and cultural situation.
WEEK TWO: 21-25 July 2014
Course 9: Caroline Brooke
Art, Money and Power: Medici Patronage in Florence c. 1420-1570
This course is now FULL
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 4 – 6 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 10: Dr Miriam Di Penta
‘The Marvel of the World’: Art and Politics in Baroque Rome
This course is now FULL
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.
Please note that Dr Di Penta will also lead a Study Tour to Rome from 9 – 12 October 2014, exploring the Baroque in situ. As always, participation in the tour does not require prior attendance of the Summer School course.
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 at Tate Modern, Calvert 22 and GRAD.
Course 16: Dr Antonia Gatward Cevizli
The Art of the Sultans: Ottoman Art and Architecture
This course is now FULL
Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Istanbul, photograph © Jeremy Avnet The skyline of Istanbul is one of the most recognisable in the world. However, the Ottoman artistic tradition tends to be less widely known. This course traces the most significant developments of Ottoman art and architecture from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries. From the Green Mosque in the former Ottoman capital of Bursa, we will progress to Edirne and then on to that great prize: Istanbul. The Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453 was a major turning point, changing the way the Ottomans saw themselves and how they were regarded by others. Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror initiated the city’s makeover, which transformed it into the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Our exploration of the art of the sultans will introduce us to patrons of the arts, such as Süleyman the Magnificent, the architect Sinan (often referred to as ‘the Michelangelo of the East’), and the most impressive sites of Istanbul, including the Topkapi Palace and the Süleymaniye Mosque. We will discover Ottoman carpets in the paintings of the National Gallery and explore the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum’s collections of textiles, Iznik ceramics and metalwork as well as coming face-to-face with Gentile Bellini’s portrait of Sultan Mehmed II.
WEEK THREE: 28 July - 1 August 2014
Course 18: Dr Susan Jones
Art and Society in Renaissance Bruges
This course is now FULL
This course will consider how objects in a range of media were used, viewed and understood in fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Bruges. Over five days, we will study works of art that illuminate five different but overlapping spheres in the life of this important Netherlandish trade emporium and cultural centre: the town government, the Burgundian court, international trade, the church and privately-funded projects. For each of these areas, we will select objects and related documents which can help us to understand rituals, ideas, values and beliefs that characterized contemporary Bruges society. These will include some of the most splendid and exquisitely-crafted objects of a period in which the love of materials was matched by a growing awareness of the unique artistic skill of individual craftsmen: illuminated manuscripts by the Ghent-Bruges school, the fifteenth-century stained glass windows from the Chapel of the Holy Blood, exquisite enamel silverware from the Burgundian court, and, of course, the sophisticated and technically brilliant panel paintings of Jan van Eyck, Petrus Christus, Hans Memling and Gerard David. We will visit the rich collections of objects made in Bruges and Flanders in London collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Gallery and the British Library.
Please note that Dr Jones will also explore the great artistic tradition of Bruges during a Study Tour from 12 – 14 September 2013. Both Summer School course and Tour are entirely free-standing and one does not require participation in the other. [Further information on the tour can be found in the Study Tours section of our website].
Course 24: 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 4: 4-8 August 2014
Course 27: Dr Michael Douglas-Scott
Might and Munificence: Court Patronage in Renaissance Ferrara, Mantua, Rimini and Urbino
This course is now FULL
During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, some of the most sophisticated courts of Europe were concentrated in a few small towns in north-eastern Italy. The most significant were at Ferrara, Mantua, Rimini and Urbino, each dominated by a ruling dynasty, respectively the Este, Gonzaga, Malatesta and Montefeltro. From these families emerged some of the most magnificent patrons of the Renaissance in the visual arts, music, literature and humanist learning: Isabella d’Este and her brother Alfonso, Lodovico Gonzaga and his pleasure-loving descendent Federico, Sigismondo Malatesta and his arch-rival Federico of Montefeltro. Their reputations have been immortalized by Piero della Francesca, Andrea Mantegna, Leonbattista Alberti, Leonardo da Vinci and Titian. How did these rulers attract such major figures to work for them? What motivated them to spend so much on the arts? How could they compete with much larger, more powerful, and richer states in the patronage of sophisticated culture? How did their refined taste come to be adopted elsewhere in Italy and then influence much of European culture? There will be visits to the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Library and the British Museum to examine first-hand some of the finest products of these splendid courts.
Course 29: Dr Mehreen Chida-Razvi
Painting for the Emperor: The Creation of a Mughal Style
Tracing their lineage from both Ghengis Khan and Timur, the Mughal dynasty which ruled over most of South Asia from 1526 to 1857, created one of the most luxurious empires of their time. As an Islamic elite reigning over a local South Asian population, it was important for the Mughal emperors to create a strong visual identity to consolidate their rule. They invested in extensive patronage of the arts and the royal atelier produced magnificent paintings. This course will explore the creation of the distinctive Mughal style of painting, focusing on images produced for the emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. We will examine the impact of Persian, European and local South Asian painting on the Mughal style, as well as the importance of portraiture and naturalism in Mughal painting. In addition, we will investigate how the political and social circumstances of the time, the personalities of the emperors, and the introduction of Christian art to the realm affected the atelier's production. While focusing on works on paper, we will also explore the use of painting on a larger scale as architectural decoration. Visits will include the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum and the British Library.
Course 31: Dr Jerzy Kierkuc-Bielinski
From Pollock to Pop: American Art c. 1930-1972
Louise Bourgeois, Maman, outside the National Gallery of Canada, 2005, photo @ RadagastThis is a survey of major artistic developments in the United States from the first beginnings of Modernism to the early 1970s, when Modernist practice began to be questioned. The shift from medium-specific to medium-resistant practices (site-specific work, conceptual art) is a central concern. Throughout, we will consider artistic production in relation to larger patterns of historical and cultural change. We will explore the ‘Ashcan School’ and the seminal Armory Show; Precisionism in the context of the 1920s economic boom and of European avant-gardes; Regionalist painters and the impact of the Great Depression; and the development of Abstract Expressionism (and Pop Art’s reaction to it) in the context of Surrealism and the influence of Marcel Duchamp. We will look at figures like Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, as well as at less readily defined artists like Louise Bourgeois and Joseph Cornell. Minimalist, post-minimalist and conceptual art will be studied in the context of the civil rights movement, feminism and gay rights. Works by Eva Hesse and Robert Morris and the architectural interventions by Gordon Matta-Clark will be examined in light of the political and economic questioning of the art establishment. Visits include Tate Modern and the British Museum’s Print room.