As part of our Learning and Participation programme the RWA have two fascinating Art History Day Schools looking at art, artists and architecture. Lead by professionals renowned in their field these courses aim to give a greater insight and understanding by oresenting new theories and asking challenging questions.
I turned to the landscape, not for the landscape’s sake, but for the “things behind”, the Dweller in the Innermost, whose light shines through occasionally.
[Paul Nash, letter to Gordon Bottomley, c.1920]
Join Dr Justine Hopkins for an in depth study of John and Paul Nash’s artworks, with a focus on their representations of the British landscape, as featured in the Brothers in Art exhibition.
A Gloucestershire Landscape, John Northcote Nash, 1914, oil on canvas, WA1978.67 © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford © The estate of John Nash. All Rights Reserved 2014, Bridgeman Art Library
As young artists Paul Nash and his brother John frequently shared studios and worked alongside each other; when Paul was employed by the War Office he soon arranged for John to become a War Artist too and the pattern continued. But in the years after the War their paths diverged. Flamboyant, articulate Paul experimented with Surrealism and Abstraction, becoming a leader and self-appointed spokesman among the English avant-garde. John, on the other hand, chose largely to avoid the debates and controversies of Modernism; plainer, quieter, always a little in his brother’s shadow, yet just as dedicated and in his way no less defiantly innovative in his approach to painting landscapes that not only bring particular places and seasons vividly to life, but reflect the fears and uncertainties of their times. Ironically it was ultimately John who took the honours: RA, CBE, and the first living artist to be granted a retrospective exhibition at the Royal Academy. Yet it is still Paul whose name and work are the more readily recognised and admired. This Study Day offers an opportunity to explore the paradox of the brothers Nash through a series of close encounters with their works – some immediately familiar, others almost unknown – considered not only in terms of technical mastery and the history of painting, but in the wider context of memory and imagination in a world torn by conflict.
Dr. Justine Hopkins gained her BA from Bristol University in English and Drama; MA from the Courtauld and PhD from Birkbeck College, specialising in 19th and 20th century European Art. Currently working as a freelance writer and lecturer for assorted institutions, from universities, national museums, NADFAS and auction houses to independent art groups, schools and commercial galleries. She published a biography of sculptor and painter Michael Ayrton in 1994, and has contributed to various periodicals and art dictionaries including the New DNB and the Oxford Dictionary of Western Art.
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This series of three lectures and a gallery tour will spotlight one of the RWA’s more unusual features: the replica of the frieze from the Athenian Parthenon in the upstairs Sharples gallery. Currently the focus of much international debate the Parthenon sculptures have been acclaimed as exemplary from their first creation and these lectures will place these masterpieces of art both within their original context and within the broader sphere of their paradigmatic role in European academic instruction.
Lecture one will discuss the original sculptures and their place in the society and culture of Periclean Athens, lecture two will examine their removal to England and the academic discourse their arrival engendered and lecture three will investigate the role of the classical for artists of the nineteenth century and will also include a discussion of the Walter Crane lunettes above the main staircase. These sessions will be a combination of slide lectures and gallery tour.
Dr Harriet Batten – Foster studied at the Courtauld Institute in London and, following a period working in documentary film making at BBC Television, returned to the academic sphere with an MA in Classical Heritage at the University of Bristol. Since then she has worked as an art-history tutor, teaching both undergraduate and Lifelong Learning students within the universities of Bristol, Cardiff and Oxford. She has recently completed a PhD on the changing aesthetic of the classical image.
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