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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful



Medieval England's Art and Archaeology

Saturday, September 10, 2022 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Historian Cheryl White examines four significant monuments of art and archaeology of medieval England—the Sutton Hoo ship burial, the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Bayeux Tapestry, and Canterbury Cathedral—each of which points to a specific turning point in the historical narrative of the 7th through 14th centuries. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)


Understanding Art: A Guide to the Basics

Friday, September 16, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. ET

The visual arts enrich our lives in many ways, bringing us innovative ideas, the pleasure of beauty, and a range of emotions—while also puzzling us at times. Art historian Janetta Rebold Benton highlights the fundamentals shared by all the visual arts and provides a guide to honing essential visual literacy skills that enable us to understand concepts conveyed without words. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)


Philosophy in the Middle Ages: A Harmony of Faith and Reason

Saturday, October 1, 2022 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

The medieval period in Western thought, once viewed disparagingly by scholars as the Dark Ages, has come to be recognized as a time of rich philosophic investigation and lively debate. Gregory T. Doolan, associate professor of philosophy at The Catholic University of America, explores the work of notable Christian, Muslim, and Jewish thinkers from the major periods of medieval philosophy.


The History of France: Four More Turning Points

Saturday, October 15, 2022 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

France is the product of a centuries-long evolution during which a multitude of regional societies and cultures was welded together willingly—or more often forcibly—by a succession of monarchs, ministers, and commanders. Historian Alexander Mikaberidze examines four historical moments that marked crucial points in the emergence of France: the opening of Versailles; the invasion of Italy by King Charles VIII; the transformation of young humanist lawyer Jean Cauvin into John Calvin; and the world’s first conference to standardize measurements across the world.


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)


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)


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)


Death and Beyond: Comparative Reflections on World Religious Traditions

Saturday, November 19, 2022 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Issues of death, dying, and the meaning of life—and the afterlife—hold key places in the belief systems of the major religious traditions of the world. Graham M. Schweig, a professor of philosophy and religions at Christopher Newport University and Graduate Theological Union, surveys differing visions of these themes from a variety of Eastern and Western cultural perspectives.


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.