Skip to main content
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

This series has already started.
Please call us at 202-633-3030 for ticket availability.

Art and Fiction: When Words and Art Commune

3-Session Daytime Series

Thursday, June 16, July 21, and September 8, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0701
Tickets
 $60 Package Member
 $65 Package Non-Member
Reserving your tickets...

A picture is not only worth a thousand words: It can even turn into a whole novel. Independent art historian Heidi Applegate explores the artists and paintings that inspired three works of art-focused historical fiction. Gain new perspectives on Leonardo da Vinci, Judith Leyster, and Camille Pissarro by delving into the novels followed by Applegate’s examination of the factual background along with the fiction. This is a “novel” way to explore the arts.

Please Note: Individual sessions are available for individual purchase.

June 16  Laura Morelli, The Night Portrait, 2020

The Night Portrait tells the parallel stories of Cecilia Gallerani, mistress of the Duke of Milan, who commissioned Leonardo Da Vinci to paint her portrait around 1490, and of Edith Becker, a young paintings conservator in Munich during WWII, who is determined to return the portrait of Gallerani to its rightful owner after it is looted by the Nazis.

July 21 Carrie Callaghan, A Light of Her Own, 2018

Judith Leyster is beginning to establish her own studio in Haarlem in the early 1660s, when a scarcity of linseed oil adds to the challenges of becoming a successful painter in a male-dominated art world. Paintings drive the plot, including Leyster's Self Portrait, which secured her admittance as the first woman to become a member of the Haarlem Painters' Guild. Works by Fans Hals, Rembrandt, and Dutch landscapes provide further context for the novel. 

September 8  Alice Hoffman, The Marriage of Opposites, 2015

A family saga spanning the 19th century, The Marriage of Opposites tells the story of Camille Pissarro’s mother and the impact her life had on his career. As a study in contrast between the limitations placed on women, the freedom enjoyed by men, and the brilliant heat of the Caribbean versus a drab, cold winter in Paris, Hoffman has created a world in which color is a central character. Applegate recreates the story through Pissarro's paintings and gives additional historical context to the events that shaped the family's lives.

3 sessions

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit per program*

Photo caption (upper right):

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from CustomerService@SmithsonianAssociates.org.
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of each session. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of each session, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.

*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.