Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Dreams and visions in painting. My Festival of Ideas lecture on art history at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Dreams and visions
Sat, 27 Oct.

Every year I give an illustrated slide lecture on art at the Fitzwilliam Museum, as part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas.  My lecture this Saturday is called Dreams and Visions in Painting.

I introduce you to dream imagery ranging from mediaeval altar pieces (the dream of St Francis) to the oneiric inventions of the Surrealists in the 1930s and 40s. Looking at how dreams were evoked in paint can tell us something about the changing concept of painting itself. The surprising insight is that painting can be both a medium for capturing concrete reality while at the same time conjuring up the transcendental and the irrational. 

Presented by Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.

Giotto, St Francis and the Dream of Innocent III, Louvre
(Wikimedia, Creative Commons license)

Dalí, The Dream, 1937, private collection
Where:  Fitzwilliam Museum 
When:  Sat, 27 Oct. 2012, 1.15 pm, repeated at 3.15 pm
Entrance by token; grab a token 1/2 an hour before.

Update!!  You can now view a shortened version of this lecture here.

Dreams and nightmares

For the first time this year, the Festival has a theme:  Dreams and Nightmares. To see all of the other exciting events on this week and next, click on the Festival logo below:

This logo, by the way, was designed by George Shapter, a 21-year-old art history graduate who taught himself graphic design.  He says, "I studied Surrealism as part of my History of Art degree and I found the Surrealists' interest in the subconscious dream world fascinating."

See more of George's art at his tumblr blog.  It's surprisingly delicate and reminds me of Chinese landscapes, painted in ink.

Source:  George Shapter's tumblr.
Are you going to any art-related events this week?

Permalink:  http://artincambridge.blogspot.com/2012/10/dreams-and-visions-in-painting-my.html


  1. Hello! This reminds me that I unexpectedly saw some Hieronymus Bosch paintings while in Venice earlier this month (among many other wonders) - very dreamlike and they've always struck a chord with me for some reason. My mum was less impressed.

    Good luck with the lecture!

  2. Eeep, you commented. This is still very exciting for me... :-) Hieronymus Bosch in Venice, that is unexpected (as not Italian). Come erano le pitture? Bosch rules, is creepy and also amazing. No Bosch in CB. :-( But look, there is one (only one) in London:


  3. It was an exhibition on Titian's The Flight Into Egypt, or more specifically influences on same. So lots of different stuff. I love the creepiness of Bosch and it was quite a treat to see it in person. Another painting in the exhibition (rubbishly, I forget what it was, or who it was by) I thought looked familiar, and suddenly realised I'd last seen it with you, at the National Gallery! It was on loan. So while we were wandering around, talking about what I might see in Venice, I was probably looking at one of the things I was going to see...

    Saw some other great stuff too - Carpaccio's scenes of Renaissance Venice, and Veronese's parish church, which was round the corner from our apartment.

    1. Oh, Titian! I can't believe you followed a painting all around Europe. You are a picture groupie! Was it Veronese??

    2. It might well have been! I will probably remember at some point, so I'll let you know. :)


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