“Mary does not ‘teach’ as such; she introduces a painting (or an artist, or an idea) and then enters a process of mutual discovery as a co-explorer, always stimulating an attitude of ‘gazing’ and encouraging a heart response. She fosters the development of individuals having an openness of vision to perceive what is going on in themselves as well as what the basic intention of the artist might be. Mary’s classes are inspirational. They have a spiritual dimension in the broadest sense, and encourage the participator to find their ‘inner eye’ to perceive not so much facts and figures about artists and art history, but how art can change us. At the same time, Mary is very kind and attentive to all her students, and respects everyone’s contribution. Her classes are wholly accessible both to folk who have in-depth experience of ‘art appreciation’ and those who have little.”
Monet – his life and works at Giverny
A two week course
Fridays 15th & 22nd September 2023
10am – 12pm UK time via Zoom
Following on from a visit to Monet’s house and gardens at Giverny in France, this two week course take a visual tour through art works and through photographs of his time at his beloved home.
In the last part of his life, Monet had experienced a series of disappointments and was grieving the loss of his wife. Coupled with cataracts and finding it difficult to see to paint, he put down his paint brushes and decided he would never paint again. It was only through the encouragement of his close friend, the President Georges Clémenceau, that he was inspired to paint again. The result of this was the monumental paintings of the water lilies, some of which can be seen today in the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris.
This course will explore Monet’s extraordinarily beautiful works of art, the fascinating journey through his life at Giverny, an overview of his young life as an artist, the neglect of the house and garden after his death and the eventual revival of them, bringing the gardens, which Monet called his greatest masterpiece, back to life.
This course will be recorded.
A two week course on Beauty in Art
Monday 19th June & Monday 26th June
10am – 12pm UK time via Zoom
“Beauty can be consoling, disturbing, sacred, profane; it can be exhilarating, appealing, inspiring, chilling. It can affect us in an unlimited variety of ways. Yet it is never viewed with indifference: beauty demands to be noticed; it speaks to us directly like the voice of an intimate friend. If there are people who are indifferent to beauty, then it is surely because they do not perceive it.”
Sir Roger Scruton
This two week course will explore beauty in Art across a broad time frame to modern day. We will firstly consider how beauty is defined and whether it is only in the eye of the beholder or perhaps, it is in fact something which embodies universal truths. We will question how interconnected is beauty with the divine? How has beauty shown her / his face? The goddess Venus or Aphrodite, the divine feminine and masculine, goodness, kindness?
When our attention to beauty diminishes and when we cease co-creating with it, we need to be concerned. In our modern day, we seem to have neglected beauty in Art and in Architecture and in doing so we have neglected a crucial part of ourselves. We need beauty as much as we need food. But our views of beauty today have become distorted. As the depth psychologist James Hillman said, beauty is not ‘prettiness’.
Guided by the works of Art themselves, we will look at when beauty first awakened and was brought into the tangible images we now call Art as we explore some extraordinary works from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Romanticism and the Impressionist period. As we move forward in time we will see how works of art changed in a period which I term ‘when beauty slept’ – the period of industrialisation and interestingly, a time when the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales had only recently been written, including the Sleeping Beauty. We will look at how some artists took the story of Sleeping Beauty as subject matter for their painting and what this might mean symbolically. We will venture into the world of Modernism in Art and ask whether beauty is still present, revealing and then concealing her / his face. This course will be visually rich and historical facts will be linked to ‘bigger picture’ thinking with philosophers such as Sir Roger Scruton, James Hillman, the artists themselves and from ideas about beauty from the periods we will cover, ultimately asking can we awaken beauty in our world today?
This course will be recorded if you happen to live in a different time zone or cannot make the scheduled time.
Recordings available for purchase
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