In this program, Tim Barringer, Paul Mellon Professor of the History of Art, reveals the stories behind some of the great artists in the Western tradition, from the Italian Renaissance to today's diverse and vibrant art world in New York and London.
The first lecture looks at the birth of the modern European tradition in Italy, where new ideas permeated gold altarpieces in churches and portraits in the palaces of princes and bankers. This was the age of Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. A second lecture visits Holland around 1650, where new, intensely human, forms of realism were pioneered by Vermeer and Rembrandt. Next comes a comparison between Paris and London, where Impressionists and Pre-Raphaelites found new ways to see the industrial world and new technologies such as photography. Here we'll encounter Monet, Van Gogh and the Pre-Raphaelites. Finally, we'll take stock of the contemporary art world in New York and London and its origins in the Cold War, with a look at the way today's artists navigate the complexities of modern life.