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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Art & Architecture

Lecture/Seminar

Art, Architecture, and Ambition in Aragonese Naples

Friday, September 30, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The fall of Naples in 1442 not only brought Spanish rule, it transformed the city into a vital center of artistic production. Join Sophia D’Addio, a lecturer in art history at Columbia University, in an exploration of paintings, sculptures, medals, and architecture commissioned by the Aragonese rulers of Naples, most notably the commissions and collections of King Alfonso of Aragon. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course

Lunchtime with a Curator: Decorative Arts Design Series

Monday, October 3, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Join curator Elizabeth Lay as she hosts an image-rich series on decorative arts and design topics with guests. In this fall lunchtime program, Lay's guest is decorative arts curator Amy McHugh, who traces how treasures from France’s Crown Jewels found their way into the wardrobes of America’s Gilded-Age heiresses.

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, October 4, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by January Steen’s The Dancing Couple.

Lecture/Seminar

Whistler: Departing from Tradition in Making Art

Wednesday, October 5, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

James Abbott McNeill Whistler is celebrated for his bold and innovative style in a variety of media—all informed by influences that encompass the Aesthetic movement, Asian art, and his own experimentation with abstract color and composition. Art historian Aneta Georgievska Shine takes a close look at how these ideals were expressed in his work, whether seen in subtle tonal landscapes or portrayals of women. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

The Judgement of Paris: The Origins of Impressionism

Friday, October 7, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Impressionism was born in the 1860s through a heated rivalry between painters Édouard Manet and Ernest Meissonier. The contest transcended artistic expression, encompassing competing viewpoints on the changes wrought by technology, politics, and personal freedom. Ross King, author of The Judgement of Paris, vividly explores the relationship between these artists as he evokes Parisian life during a decade of social and political ferment. (World Art History Certificate Program elective, 1/2 credit)

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, October 11, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by Paul Cadmus’s Bar Italia.

Lecture/Seminar

Cezanne: The Father of Modern Art

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

For Picasso, Paul Cezanne was simply “the father of us all.” Art historian Joseph Cassar examines key works that reflect how this pioneer of modernism pointed to future developments in art. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Art Crimes: Trailing Modern Treasure Hunters

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Join expert on art fraud and former FBI agent Robert K. Wittman on his journey around the world as the senior investigator and founder of the FBI National Art Crime Team. He recounts assignments worthy of a spy novel that nabbed the tomb robbers, thieves, looters, and criminals who are the financial engine of the multi-billion-dollar international industry in illicit artifacts.

Course

Lunchtime with a Curator: Decorative Arts Design Series

Monday, October 17, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Join curator Elizabeth Lay as she hosts an image-rich series on decorative arts and design topics with guests. In this fall lunchtime program, Lay's guest is period jewelry specialist Sheila Smithie, who offers insights into the creation of stunning, classically inspired pieces from Europe’s fabled 19th-century Revival jewelers.

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, October 18, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by Scherezade García’s Day Dreaming/Soñando despierta.

Lecture/Seminar

The Art of John Singer Sargent: Virtuosic Portraits, Seductive Dancers, Luscious Landscapes

Wednesday, October 19, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Famed for his opulent portraits of members of Gilded-Age society, John Singer Sargent was prolific, versatile, and sometimes controversial. Art historian Nancy G. Heller discusses Sargent’s colorful life and examines his most important works, including a selection of drawings and paintings to be featured in the National Gallery of Art’s upcoming exhibition Sargent in Spain. She also considers his place within the broader scope of Western art history and discusses what new scholarship reveals about his life and work. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Cultural Heritage Sites of China

Saturday, October 22, 2022 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

From the grand splendor of the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace to the serene beauty of the gardens of Suzhou and the grand tombs of Ming and Qing dynasty rulers, spend a day with art historian Robert DeCaroli as he introduces spectacular places in China that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, October 25, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by Emma Amos’s Winning.

Course

Medieval History Through Artists’ Eyes

Tuesday, October 25, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Dazzling early Christian mosaics, sumptuous Carolingian illuminated manuscripts, sculpted Romanesque church facades, and soaring Gothic cathedrals give artistic expression to an astonishing variety of beliefs and practices linked by a vision of leading the human spirit toward eternal life. Art historian Judy Scott Feldman examines the art of the thousand-year period between classical antiquity and the Renaissance and its relationship to a diverse society infused with faith and spirituality. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Ghostly Images in Japanese Art

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Female ghosts have been an enduring theme in the history of Japanese art, touching people’s deepest fears, curiosities, and imaginations. Yui Suzuki, an art historian specializing in Japanese religious art, explores the popularity and proliferation of these spectral images that haunt the art of the Edo period. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Deconstructing Frank Gehry

Thursday, October 27, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The work of architect Frank Gehry is fascinating, imaginative, unexpected, and always fresh—as well as controversial, often-derided, and at times seen as the antithesis of good architecture. In a richly detailed program, Bill Keene, a lecturer urban studies and architecture, examines Gehry’s life and career from his earliest buildings to works in progress. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Home Is Where the Art Is: Connecting Creativity and Place

Friday, October 28, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. ET

Did the houses, gardens, and locations where Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Frida Kahlo, Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, Philip Johnson, and other leading creators lived directly influence their work? Art historian Janetta Rebold Benton surveys the private residences—and private lives—of painters, sculptors, and architects to explore this artistic connection. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Herman Melville's Arrowhead: The Birthplace of Moby Dick

Friday, November 4, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

From 1850 through 1863, Herman Melville and his family made their home at Arrowhead, an unassuming yellow farmhouse on the western border of Massachusetts. Veteran Arrowhead tour guide John Dickson and Executive Director Lesley Herzberg lead an enlightening program that explores how Melville used the inspiration of the house and its surrounding landscape to write Moby Dick and other well-known novels and stories.

Lecture/Seminar

Nude: The Unclothed Form in Western Art

Saturday, November 5, 2022 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

From depictions of divinities to ordinary people, idealized images to the unflinchingly realistic, Western artists have long turned to the nude human form as subject. Drawing on works from Michelangelo to Judy Chicago to Faith Ringgold, art historian Nancy G. Heller surveys the genre, including its power to provoke controversy, how female and male bodies are represented, and the enduring question, “What’s the difference between naked and nude?” (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

The Holding Bowl: A Reflective Writing Workshop

Sunday, November 6, 2022 - 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing guided by the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, Mary Hall Surface. Inspired by contemporary works by American artist Margaret Boozer and poet Jane Hirshfield, explore the bowl as a metaphor for our lives and the world.

Lecture/Seminar

Contemporary Artists: Who Will We Remember?

Thursday, November 10, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

As the world shrinks and the art market becomes increasingly global, it’s harder to identify the artists who will likely be in museum collections or remembered for years to come. Art critic and adviser Judy Pomeranz shares insights about several contemporary artists she feels are doing critically acclaimed—and market-recognized—work that stands apart from the crowd.

Tour

An Artful Day in Philadelphia: Modigliani and Matisse

Sunday, November 13, 2022 - 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The art of 20th-century creators is in the spotlight during a visit to two of Philadelphia’s outstanding collections led by art historian Ursula Rhen Wolfman. Begin with a guided tour of the Barnes Foundation’s newest exhibition, Modigliani Up Close, then spend the afternoon at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for a guided visit to the special exhibit Matisse in the 1930s. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

The Irrepressible Rosa Bonheur: The 19th Century’s Most Famous Woman Artist

Wednesday, November 16, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

An international celebrity during her lifetime, the reputation of prolific French animal painter Rosa Bonheur (1822–1899) faded  as the 20th century turned toward new art forms. In the 200th anniversary year of Bonheur’s birth, historian Nancy G. Heller celebrates her boldly unconventional personality and the achievements of a significant artistic career. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Gloriana: Elizabeth I and the Art of Queenship

Thursday, November 17, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Art and fashion were strategic propaganda devices that reinforced the magnificence—and power—of Elizabeth I as a virgin goddess. Lecturer Siobhan Clarke surveys the cult of Gloriana and the glittering jewels, opulent gowns, and royal portraits that shaped the image of England’s queen in her own time and throughout history. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

The Renaissance Artist at Work

Friday, November 18, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Day-to-day artistic workshop practices are often a neglected aspect of Renaissance studies. Art historian Elaine Ruffolo sheds a fascinating light on the subject as she explores how painters learned their craft, the organization of their workshops, the guilds they belonged to, their relationships with customers and patrons, and where and how their work was displayed. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course

Enduring Themes in Western Art (Part III)

Wednesday, November 30, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Art historian Joseph Cassar examines important masterworks within selected genres and offers a new way to understand and appreciate the cultural norms that influenced artists’ choices. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Maria Sibylla Merian: A Biologist to the Bone

Thursday, December 1, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

The aesthetic appeal of the images created by Maria Sibylla Merian (German, 1647–1717) has led history to label her as an artist who painted and etched natural history subjects. Kay Etheridge, a professor emeritus of biology at Gettysburg College, draws on Merian’s own words and art to reveal she was as passionate a naturalist (biologist in modern terms) as Charles Darwin or Carl Linnaeus.

Lecture/Seminar

Michelangelo's Women

Friday, December 2, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Michelangelo’s artistic audacity extended far beyond his heroic men to encompass an amazing cohort of authoritative, prophetic, nurturing, and active women. Art historian Elizabeth Lev looks at Michelangelo’s life and work to reveal how the Florentine master turned the tables on old tropes and stereotypes in his portrayals of women in daring, innovative, and empowering imagery. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Europe 1900: The Golden Ages of Vienna, Paris, London

Saturday, December 3, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

The year 1900 found three of Europe’s greatest cities entering defining eras in their historical and cultural development. In a richly illustrated seminar, lecturer George Scheper explores how the alignment of creative forces shaped three highly distinctive urban milieus—each nourished by the energy and excitement of new ideas and each witnessing the birth of modernism in the coming century.

Lecture/Seminar

Winter Wisdom: A Reflective Writing Workshop

Tuesday, December 6, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing guided by the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, Mary Hall Surface. Inspired by Claude Monet’s The Magpie and two winter poems by Mary Oliver, you’ll explore the lessons that the season offers us when we slow down, look closely, and reflect.

Course

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Wednesday, December 7, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The 1,121 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the world provide fascinating glimpses into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. In a lavishly illustrated series, historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview of the Great Wall of China.

Lecture/Seminar

Rediscovering Botticelli’s Lost Drawings—and the Renaissance

Thursday, December 8, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

The 19th-century rediscovery of Sandro Botticelli’s drawings illustrating The Divine Comedy reminded the art world of how the artist’s work embodies the spirit of the Renaissance. Joseph Luzzi of Bard College explains how and why Botticelli’s creations from the beauty of Primavera and the Birth of Venus to the drama of Dante’s Purgatorio—still move us today.

Lecture/Seminar

The Barnes Foundation Philadelphia

Friday, December 9, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

The Barnes is often considered the greatest post-impressionist and early-modern art collection in the world. Join Barnes Foundation educator Penny Hansen as she covers its history and uses unique high-definition Deep Zoom technology to offer closeup looks at masterpieces that reveal their surfaces and details in ways that bring the art and the artists to vivid life. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Tour

Holidays at Winterthur and Longwood Gardens: Featuring Jacqueline Kennedy and H. F. du Pont: From Winterthur to the White House

Sunday, December 11, 2022 - 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET

Kick off your holidays in grand style with a day spent visiting two special destinations. Begin at Winterthur to view the opulent holiday décor and take in the exhibition Jacqueline Kennedy and H. F. du Pont: From Winterthur to the White House. An evening visit to nearby Longwood Gardens offers time on your own to relax, wander the grounds, and take in the spectacular seasonal decorations.

Lecture/Seminar

Decking the Halls at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Sunday, December 11, 2022 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Author and historian Coleen Christian Burke, a 2014 White House design partner, leads a journey through Christmas history as she reveals how the annual decorating themes developed by first ladies are turned into sparkling realities. She also discusses how the holiday White House functions as both a private home and public space and offers views of some of the most memorable seasonal settings created at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Lecture/Seminar

Building St. Peter's Basilica

Monday, December 12, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

After 100 years of construction, the reign of 18 different popes, and the direction of 12 different architects, St. Peter’s Basilica was finally completed in 1626. Rocky Ruggiero, an architectural historian and specialist in the Italian Renaissance, explores the dramatic construction history of this great church and the breathtaking artwork by artists such as Michelangelo and Bernini that adorns it. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Wednesday, December 14, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The 1,121 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the world provide fascinating glimpses into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. In a lavishly illustrated series, historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview of the Sacred Buddhist Landscape of Bagan.

Lecture/Seminar

Los Angeles: Portrait of a Mature Metropolis

Wednesday, December 14, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

In the decades following World War II, a myriad of factors shaped modern Los Angeles, including the growth of industry, the evolution of the entertainment business, and the city’s transformation into the home of notable cultural and educational institutions. Bill Keene, a lecturer in history, urban studies, and architecture, examines the social and economic forces that made Los Angeles the powerhouse it is today.

Lecture/Seminar

Donatello: Artist of the Florentine Renaissance

Friday, December 16, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

A technical master, Donatello broke new ground in the methods he used and the forms he chose to develop, leaving behind a legacy of creations that seem startlingly modern. Art historian Elaine Ruffolo highlights the life and work of this artist who embodied the ideas of the Renaissance in sculpture. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)