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A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts

The A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts were established in 1949 to bring to the people of the United States the results of the best contemporary thought and scholarship bearing upon the subject of the fine arts.

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Anthony Grafton, Princeton University. In this six-part lecture series entitled Past Belief: Visions of Early Christianity in Renaissance and Reformation Europe, Anthony Grafton focuses on the efforts of artists and scholars to recreate the early history of Christianity in a period of crisis in the church from the 15th to the 17th century. In this sixth lecture, entitled “Constantine and Conversion: The Roles of the First Christian Emperor,” originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 11, 2014, Professor Grafton argues that in their retelling of the dramatic and exemplary life of Constantine, scholars and artists forged new forensic, historical, and multidisciplinary approaches. They used philological and antiquarian evidence to unpack a layered and incoherent body of evidence that exposed the apocryphal legends of what has been called an “inherited conglomerate.” Protestant and Catholic writers concurred in their assessment that Constantine’s reign marked a radical transformation of art and religion and was thus a historical moment of great consequence—yet one or two began to see Constantine in less dramatic terms, as the human, political figure that he was. The erudition and imagination of these scholars and artists in the early modern period produced sophisticated and acute views of the early church, from which we can still profit today.

Video

Anthony Grafton, Princeton University. In this six-part lecture series entitled Past Belief: Visions of Early Christianity in Renaissance and Reformation Europe, Anthony Grafton focuses on the efforts of artists and scholars to recreate the early history of Christianity in a period of crisis in the church from the 15th to the 17th century. In this sixth lecture, entitled “Constantine and Conversion: The Roles of the First Christian Emperor,” originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 11, 2014, Professor Grafton argues that in their retelling of the dramatic and exemplary life of Constantine, scholars and artists forged new forensic, historical, and multidisciplinary approaches. They used philological and antiquarian evidence to unpack a layered and incoherent body of evidence that exposed the apocryphal legends of what has been called an “inherited conglomerate.” Protestant and Catholic writers concurred in their assessment that Constantine’s reign marked a radical transformation of art and religion and was thus a historical moment of great consequence—yet one or two began to see Constantine in less dramatic terms, as the human, political figure that he was. The erudition and imagination of these scholars and artists in the early modern period produced sophisticated and acute views of the early church, from which we can still profit today.

Video

Anthony Grafton, Princeton University. In this six-part lecture series entitled Past Belief: Visions of Early Christianity in Renaissance and Reformation Europe, Anthony Grafton focuses on the efforts of artists and scholars to recreate the early history of Christianity in a period of crisis in the church from the 15th to the 17th century. In this fifth lecture, entitled “Martyrdom and Persecution: The Uses of Early Christian Suffering,” originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 4, 2014, Professor Grafton shows that early Christian martyrs were seen as the core of the true church and thus were used in the Renaissance by Catholic and Protestant scholars alike to defend either the status quo or reform agendas. Visual and textual references to ancient and modern martyrs were tightly linked in this period. Ancient martyrdom resonated with both the devout and the radical at a time when the theater of violence created by the first ideological wars in Europe made martyrdom not a distant, but a living experience, melding past, present, and future.

Audio

Anthony Grafton, Princeton University. In this six-part lecture series entitled Past Belief: Visions of Early Christianity in Renaissance and Reformation Europe, Anthony Grafton focuses on the efforts of artists and scholars to recreate the early history of Christianity in a period of crisis in the church from the 15th to the 17th century. In this fifth lecture, entitled “Martyrdom and Persecution: The Uses of Early Christian Suffering,” originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 4, 2014, Professor Grafton shows that early Christian martyrs were seen as the core of the true church and thus were used in the Renaissance by Catholic and Protestant scholars alike to defend either the status quo or reform agendas. Visual and textual references to ancient and modern martyrs were tightly linked in this period. Ancient martyrdom resonated with both the devout and the radical at a time when the theater of violence created by the first ideological wars in Europe made martyrdom not a distant, but a living experience, melding past, present, and future.

Audio

Anthony Grafton, Princeton University. In this six-part lecture series entitled Past Belief: Visions of Early Christianity in Renaissance and Reformation Europe, Anthony Grafton focuses on the efforts of artists and scholars to recreate the early history of Christianity in a period of crisis in the church from the 15th to the 17th century. In this fourth lecture, entitled “Relics and Ruins: Material Survivals and Early Modern Interpretations,” originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 27, 2014, Professor Grafton reveals Catholic and Protestant sensibilities as extremes that touched when scholars of both denominations feared the loss of tangible evidence of early Christian practice and ritual threatened in the course of modernization and destroyed in the wake of religious wars. Even as critical attitudes arose regarding the authenticity of these material remains, the past was seen in a new light in which they were acknowledged as witnesses to the pious traditions of the early church rather than as sources of corruption and deception.  

Video

Anthony Grafton, Princeton University. In this six-part lecture series entitled Past Belief: Visions of Early Christianity in Renaissance and Reformation Europe, Anthony Grafton focuses on the efforts of artists and scholars to recreate the early history of Christianity in a period of crisis in the church from the 15th to the 17th century. In this fourth lecture, entitled “Relics and Ruins: Material Survivals and Early Modern Interpretations,” originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 27, 2014, Professor Grafton reveals Catholic and Protestant sensibilities as extremes that touched when scholars of both denominations feared the loss of tangible evidence of early Christian practice and ritual threatened in the course of modernization and destroyed in the wake of religious wars. Even as critical attitudes arose regarding the authenticity of these material remains, the past was seen in a new light in which they were acknowledged as witnesses to the pious traditions of the early church rather than as sources of corruption and deception.  

Audio

Anthony Grafton, Princeton University. In this six-part lecture series entitled Past Belief: Visions of Early Christianity in Renaissance and Reformation Europe, Anthony Grafton focuses on the efforts of artists and scholars to recreate the early history of Christianity in a period of crisis in the church from the 15th to the 17th century.  In this second lecture, entitled “Bearers of Memory and Makers of History: The Many Paths to Christian Antiquity,” originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 6, 2014, Professor Grafton argues that the history of knowledge was for millennia a history of books, the production of which established new standards of study and argument and ultimately the great libraries of Europe. Knowledge about the early church took the form of immense books—the work of learned scholars rich in erudition and impassioned by their beliefs, whose scholarship was often deeply prejudiced but sometimes reached original, prescient, and unexpected conclusions.

Audio

Anthony Grafton, Princeton University. In this six-part lecture series entitled Past Belief: Visions of Early Christianity in Renaissance and Reformation Europe, Anthony Grafton focuses on the efforts of artists and scholars to recreate the early history of Christianity in a period of crisis in the church from the 15th to the 17th century. In this third lecture, entitled “Christian Origins and the Work of Time: Imagining the First Christians,” originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 13, 2014, Professor Grafton extols the religious imagination of the humanists who plumbed the early sources of Christian and Jewish traditions in order to write histories of the early church, producing unprecedented and radical visions of Christian origins.

Video

Anthony Grafton, Princeton University. In this six-part lecture series entitled Past Belief: Visions of Early Christianity in Renaissance and Reformation Europe, Anthony Grafton focuses on the efforts of artists and scholars to recreate the early history of Christianity in a period of crisis in the church from the 15th to the 17th century.  In this second lecture, entitled “Bearers of Memory and Makers of History: The Many Paths to Christian Antiquity,” originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 6, 2014, Professor Grafton argues that the history of knowledge was for millennia a history of books, the production of which established new standards of study and argument and ultimately the great libraries of Europe. Knowledge about the early church took the form of immense books—the work of learned scholars rich in erudition and impassioned by their beliefs, whose scholarship was often deeply prejudiced but sometimes reached original, prescient, and unexpected conclusions.

Video

Anthony Grafton, Princeton University. In this six-part lecture series entitled Past Belief: Visions of Early Christianity in Renaissance and Reformation Europe, Anthony Grafton focuses on the efforts of artists and scholars to recreate the early history of Christianity in a period of crisis in the church from the 15th to the 17th century. In this third lecture, entitled “Christian Origins and the Work of Time: Imagining the First Christians,” originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 13, 2014, Professor Grafton extols the religious imagination of the humanists who plumbed the early sources of Christian and Jewish traditions in order to write histories of the early church, producing unprecedented and radical visions of Christian origins.

Audio

Anthony Grafton, Princeton University. In this six-part lecture series entitled Past Belief: Visions of Early Christianity in Renaissance and Reformation Europe, Anthony Grafton focuses on the efforts of artists and scholars to recreate the early history of Christianity in a period of crisis in the church from the 15th to the 17th century. In this first lecture, entitled “How Jesus Celebrated Passover: The Jewish Origins of Christianity,” originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on March 30, 2014, Grafton explores how the pictorial form of the Last Supper, a central theme in art, was radically transformed after the beginning of the Reformation in 1517. He shows how writers with great archaeological and historical learning delved into Roman antiquities and Jewish texts from the time of the origins of Christianity in order to bring back the world in which the Last Supper actually took place.  

Video

Anthony Grafton, Princeton University. In this six-part lecture series entitled Past Belief: Visions of Early Christianity in Renaissance and Reformation Europe, Anthony Grafton focuses on the efforts of artists and scholars to recreate the early history of Christianity in a period of crisis in the church from the 15th to the 17th century. In this first lecture, entitled “How Jesus Celebrated Passover: The Jewish Origins of Christianity,” originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on March 30, 2014, Grafton explores how the pictorial form of the Last Supper, a central theme in art, was radically transformed after the beginning of the Reformation in 1517. He shows how writers with great archaeological and historical learning delved into Roman antiquities and Jewish texts from the time of the origins of Christianity in order to bring back the world in which the Last Supper actually took place.  

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Mary Beard, Cambridge University

This six-part lecture series examines the continuing engagement throughout history with images of Roman emperors and its impact on Western visual art and culture. In this sixth and final lecture of the series, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 8, 2011, the esteemed classicist and professor Mary Beard summarizes the complexity of the reception of images of Roman imperial life and power as they have been altered, combined, redefined, and proliferated in all media.

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Mary Beard, Cambridge University

This six-part lecture series examines the continuing engagement throughout history with images of Roman emperors and its impact on Western visual art and culture. In this fifth lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 1, 2011, the esteemed classicist and professor Mary Beard considers the fluid, dynamic, and productive category of emperor groups, which became a popular theme of Western art following the first printing of Suetonius’ Lives of the Caesars in 1470.

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Mary Beard, Cambridge University

This six-part lecture series examines the continuing engagement throughout history with images of Roman emperors and its impact on Western visual art and culture. In this fourth lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 17, 2011, the esteemed classicist and professor Mary Beard discusses the role of female members of the imperial court in terms of dynastic succession, the transmission of power, and their representation in antique and post-antique art.

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Mary Beard, Cambridge University

This six-part lecture series examines the continuing engagement throughout history with images of Roman emperors and its impact on Western visual art and culture. In this third lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 10, 2011, the esteemed classicist and professor Mary Beard shows how portraits of emperors took part in the transmission of power, legitimizing in marble an authorized genealogy of descent.

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Mary Beard, Cambridge University

This six-part lecture series examines the continuing engagement throughout history with images of Roman emperors and its impact on Western visual art and culture. In this second lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 3, 2011, the esteemed classicist and professor Mary Beard traces the emergence of imperial portraits, their role in the iconography of Roman power, and their shifting interpretations and latent significances in the modern world.

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Mary Beard, Cambridge University

This six-part lecture series examines the continuing engagement throughout history with images of Roman emperors and its impact on Western visual art and culture. In this first lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on March 27, 2011, the esteemed classicist and professor Mary Beard introduces the prejudices, conventions, and disagreements that underlie the identification and reception of Roman imperial portraits beginning with Julius Caesar.

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Barry Bergdoll, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, and professor, Columbia University

In the sixth and final lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 12, 2013, architectural historian Barry Bergdoll presents a hopeful manifesto of the possibilities of architectural exhibitions, including a look at MoMA's innovative introduction of public laboratories and workshops in which designers, historians, and critics project new futures and new problems in architecture.

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Barry Bergdoll, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, and professor, Columbia University

In the fifth lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 5, 2013, architectural historian Barry Bergdoll discusses the establishment, by the 1920s, of exhibitions as a culture of architecture in which one exhibition served as a critique of another, and the exploitation of the propaganda capacity of the exhibition by political agencies, corporations, and the ongoing politics of diplomacy.

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Barry Bergdoll, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, and professor, Columbia University

In the fourth lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 28, 2013, architectural historian Barry Bergdoll considers the role of the exhibition as an instrument for reform in the movement for better housing for the working classes, in the institution of city planning as a modern discipline, and in the emergence of the artistic avant-garde in the years around 1900, all cases of projecting alternative futures.

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Barry Bergdoll, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, and professor, Columbia University

In the third lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 21, 2013, architectural historian Barry Bergdoll explores the idea of export architecture and outdoor exhibitions and the development of temporary exhibition pavilions from the world's fair to the open-air museum, including Colonial Williamsburg. The 19th-century debate on national identity as expressed in architectural style is shown to have been advanced by the changing valence of high-style pavilions and redeployed vernacular structures.

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Barry Bergdoll, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, and professor, Columbia University

In the second lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 14, 2013, architectural historian Barry Bergdoll describes the rise of the architectural curator and the history of the museum of architecture assayed, born, and grown, if not always thriving. The history of architecture in the spaces of the architecture museum—represented in building fragments or in cork models—is shown to have been in dialogue with the emergence of the textual history of architecture.

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Barry Bergdoll, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, and professor, Columbia University

In first lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 7, 2013, architectural historian Barry Bergdoll, presents diverse techniques of architectural display developed since the mid-18th century. Far from being poor substitutes for the real experience of architecture as a spatial art in situ, these techniques have been integral to architecture's stake in the evolving discourses of modernity. This lecture considers the entry of architects into the exhibition venues of the mid-18th century and radical new ideas for architecture under the French Revolution.

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Kirk Varnedoe, Institute for Advanced Study. This six-part series examines abstract art over a period of fifty years, beginning with a crucial juncture in modern art in the mid-1950s, and builds a compelling argument for a history and evaluation of late twentieth-century art that challenges the distinctions between abstraction and representation, modernism and postmodernism, minimalism and pop. The accompanying publication, Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this sixth and final lecture of the series, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 11, 2003, the distinguished art historian Kirk Varnedoe returns to a question raised in lecture one: Can an argument be made for abstraction as a legitimate part of both our cognitive process and our nature as a modern liberal society? Varnedoe leads the listener through a tour of Richard Serra's Torqued Ellipses, making an impassioned case for abstraction as an art of subjectivity- an art dependent on experience, human invention, and constant debate.

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Kirk Varnedoe, Institute for Advanced Study. This six-part series examines abstract art over a period of fifty years, beginning with a crucial juncture in modern art in the mid-1950s, and builds a compelling argument for a history and evaluation of late twentieth-century art that challenges the distinctions between abstraction and representation, modernism and postmodernism, minimalism and pop. The accompanying publication, Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this fifth lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 4, 2003, the distinguished art historian Kirk Varnedoe explores the 1980s, when Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Claus Oldenburg, and others confronted the ironic relationship between abstraction and the representation of man-made objects, thus producing a politicized critique of abstraction. Varnedoe concludes by looking at artists including Gerhard Richter and Cy Twombly, whose varied approaches shifted abstract art from its position as the ultimate modern art to one of many options.

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Kirk Varnedoe, Institute for Advanced Study. This six-part series examines abstract art over a period of fifty years, beginning with a crucial juncture in modern art in the mid-1950s, and builds a compelling argument for a history and evaluation of late twentieth-century art that challenges the distinctions between abstraction and representation, modernism and postmodernism, minimalism and pop. The accompanying publication, Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this fourth lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 27, 2003, the distinguished art historian Kirk Varnedoe marks 1968 as a turning point in minimalism, when a new organicism emerged in the work of Richard Serra and Eva Hesse. A change in scale and in relationship to the body and to landscape is epitomized in works such as Walter De Maria's Lightning Field, Michael Heizer's Double Negative, and Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty.

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Kirk Varnedoe, Institute for Advanced Study. This six-part series examines abstract art over a period of fifty years, beginning with a crucial juncture in modern art in the mid-1950s, and builds a compelling argument for a history and evaluation of late twentieth-century art that challenges the distinctions between abstraction and representation, modernism and postmodernism, minimalism and pop. The accompanying publication, Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this third lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 13, 2003, the distinguished art historian Kirk Varnedoe contrasts multiple forms of minimalism in the 1960s, as seen in the works of Donald Judd, Robert Morris, and James Turrell, and examines, among other things, the degree to which this art is quintessentially American.

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Kirk Varnedoe, Institute for Advanced Study. This six-part series examines abstract art over a period of fifty years, beginning with a crucial juncture in modern art in the mid-1950s, and builds a compelling argument for a history and evaluation of late twentieth-century art that challenges the distinctions between abstraction and representation, modernism and postmodernism, minimalism and pop. The accompanying publication, Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this second lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 6, 2003, the distinguished art historian Kirk Varnedoe discusses the reactions of artists such as Jackson Pollock and Jasper Johns to prewar traditions of constructivism, and the initiation of new movements that utilized similar forms but with very dissimilar premises. While raising the question of whether abstract art can have a fixed meaning, he argues that abstraction provides no respite from interpretation or retreat from the contingencies of art history.

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Kirk Varnedoe, Institute for Advanced Study. This six-part series examines abstract art over a period of fifty years, beginning with a crucial juncture in modern art in the mid-1950s, and builds a compelling argument for a history and evaluation of late twentieth-century art that challenges the distinctions between abstraction and representation, modernism and postmodernism, minimalism and pop. The accompanying publication, Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this first lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on March 30, 2003, the distinguished art historian Kirk Varnedoe begins with Jackson Pollock at a key moment in the emergence of a new form of abstract art in the mid-1950s. Building on Ernst Gombrich's Mellon Lectures of 1956, Varnedoe begins by asking: Can there be a philosophy of abstract art as compelling as Gombrich's argument for illusionism? What is abstract art good for? And finally, what do we get out of abstract art?

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Michael Fried, J. R. Herbert Boone Professor and director of the Humanities Center, The Johns Hopkins University In a series of six lectures, Michael Fried offers a compelling account of what he calls "the internal structure of the pictorial act" in the revolutionary art of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The accompanying publication, The Moment of Caravaggio, is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this audio podcast of the sixth lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 19, 2002, Professor Michael Fried argues that Caravaggio's art should be understood not simply as a monument to a revolutionary style of pictorial realism, but also as an investigation into the psychic and physical dynamic that went into its making. Fried evokes this dynamic with concepts introduced in earlier lectures, including immersion and specularity, absorption and address, painting and mirroring, and optical and bodily modes of realism—what he calls "the internal structure of the pictorial act."

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Michael Fried, J. R. Herbert Boone Professor and director of the Humanities Center, The Johns Hopkins University In a series of six lectures, Michael Fried offers a compelling account of what he calls "the internal structure of the pictorial act" in the revolutionary art of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The accompanying publication, The Moment of Caravaggio, is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this audio podcast of the fifth lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 12, 2002, Professor Michael Fried discusses how the "violent" birth of the full-blown gallery picture (as seen in Judith and Holoferenes) is figured in Caravaggio's art as beheading or decapitation, an allegory for the act of painting.

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Michael Fried, J. R. Herbert Boone Professor and director of the Humanities Center, The Johns Hopkins University In a series of six lectures, Michael Fried offers a compelling account of what he calls "the internal structure of the pictorial act" in the revolutionary art of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The accompanying publication, The Moment of Caravaggio, is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this audio podcast of the fourth lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 5, 2002, Professor Michael Fried explores how two polar entities in Caravaggio's art—absorption and address—lead to the emergence of the gallery picture.

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Michael Fried, J. R. Herbert Boone Professor and director of the Humanities Center, The Johns Hopkins University In a series of six lectures, Michael Fried offers a compelling account of what he calls "the internal structure of the pictorial act" in the revolutionary art of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The accompanying publication, The Moment of Caravaggio, is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this audio podcast of the third lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 28, 2002, Professor Michael Fried argues that Caravaggio's depiction of his figures as so deeply engrossed in what they are doing, feeling, and thinking is revolutionary.

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Michael Fried, J. R. Herbert Boone Professor and director of the Humanities Center, The Johns Hopkins University In a series of six lectures, Michael Fried offers a compelling account of what he calls "the internal structure of the pictorial act" in the revolutionary art of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The accompanying publication, The Moment of Caravaggio, is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this audio podcast of the second lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 21, 2002, Professor Michael Fried addresses Caravaggio's engagement with the act of painting, and contrasts that with specular moments of detachment. Fried argues that this divided relationship lies at the heart of Caravaggio's most radical art.

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Michael Fried, J. R. Herbert Boone Professor and director of the Humanities Center, The Johns Hopkins University. In a series of six lectures, Michael Fried offers a compelling account of what he calls "the internal structure of the pictorial act" in the revolutionary art of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The accompanying publication, The Moment of Caravaggio, is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this audio podcast of the first lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 14, 2002, Professor Michael Fried opens the lecture series with a discussion of Caravaggio's Boy Bitten by a Lizard. He argues for its significance as a disguised self-portrait of the artist in the act of painting.

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Last Looks, Last Books: The Binocular Poetry of Death Helen Vendler, A. Kingsley Porter University Professor, Harvard University. This six-part lecture series considers the final works of five modern American poets, as they "take the last look"—reconciling the interface of life and death, without the promise of an afterlife. The accompanying publication, Last Looks, Last Books: Stevens, Plath, Lowell, Bishop, Merrill, is available for purchase in the Gallery Shop. In this audio podcast of the sixth and final lecture of the series, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 20, 2007, the esteemed poetry critic and professor Helen Vendler discusses James Merrill's "montage of self-portraits while dying," as he bids farewell in various lyric genres, sketching his life-death state in verse.

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Helen Vendler, A. Kingsley Porter University Professor, Harvard University. This six-part lecture series considers the final works of five modern American poets, as they "take the last look"—reconciling the interface of life and death, without the promise of an afterlife. In this audio podcast of the fifth lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 13, 2007, the esteemed poetry critic and professor Helen Vendler traces the placement of life and death in Elizabeth Bishop's late works as they move between division and integration.

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Helen Vendler, A. Kingsley Porter University Professor, Harvard University. This six-part lecture series considers the final works of five modern American poets, as they "take the last look"—reconciling the interface of life and death, without the promise of an afterlife. In this audio podcast of the fourth lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 6, 2007, the esteemed poetry critic and professor Helen Vendler discusses Robert Lowell's last book, Day by Day, which withdraws from his earlier narrative style and instead offers spare, literal "snapshots."

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Helen Vendler, A. Kingsley Porter University Professor, Harvard University. This six-part lecture series considers the final works of five modern American poets, as they "take the last look"—reconciling the interface of life and death, without the promise of an afterlife.In this audio podcast of the third lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 29, 2007, the esteemed poetry critic and professor Helen Vendler surveys select works by Sylvia Plath, as she moves from autobiographical violence to impersonal objectivity.

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Helen Vendler, A. Kingsley Porter University Professor, Harvard University. This six-part lecture series considers the final works of five modern American poets, as they "take the last look"—reconciling the interface of life and death, without the promise of an afterlife.In this audio podcast of the second lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 22, 2007, the esteemed poetry critic and professor Helen Vendler discusses Wallace Stevens' The Rock, a collection of poems reflecting on "the last face of being, when life faces death."

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Helen Vendler, A. Kingsley Porter University Professor, Harvard University. This six-part lecture series considers the final works of five modern American poets, as they "take the last look"—reconciling the interface of life and death, without the promise of an afterlife. In this audio podcast of the first lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 15, 2007, the esteemed poetry critic and professor Helen Vendler frames the binocular styles of modern and premodern poets as they examine life and death "in a single steady gaze." The accompanying publication, Last Looks, Last Books: Stevens, Plath, Lowell, Bishop, Merrill, is available for purchase in the Gallery Shop.

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Mary Miller, Yale University. This five-part lecture series offers an overview of pre-Columbian art history, with detailed discussion of time, beauty, and truth in the visual cultures of ancient and colonial Mesoamerica. In this audio podcast of the fifth and final lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 16, 2010, art historian and archaeologist Mary Miller argues that 16th-century pictorial documents by indigenous artists offer a lens on the vanishing pre-Columbian world, showing how Mesoamerican visual culture exposed a cultural transformation that texts alone could not convey.

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Mary Miller, Yale University. This five-part lecture series offers an overview of pre-Columbian art history, with detailed discussion of time, beauty, and truth in the visual cultures of ancient and colonial Mesoamerica. In this audio podcast of the fourth lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 9, 2010, art historian and archaeologist Mary Miller discusses the paradox of truth and deception in the depiction of natural objects in Maya and Aztec art, exploring the pleasures of illusion and the virtue of mimesis when materiality is suspended.

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Mary Miller, Yale University. This five-part lecture series offers an overview of pre-Columbian art history, with detailed discussion of time, beauty, and truth in the visual cultures of ancient and colonial Mesoamerica. In this audio podcast of the third lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 2, 2010, art historian and archeologist Mary Miller explores the signification and cultural import of beauty in Maya and Aztec aesthetics.

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Mary Miller, Yale University. This five-part lecture series offers an overview of pre-Columbian art history, with detailed discussion of time, beauty, and truth in the visual cultures of ancient and colonial Mesoamerica. In this audio podcast of the second lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 25, 2010, art historian and archaeologist Mary Miller discusses Maya systems of timekeeping, the most sophisticated in the New World, and explains how Maya art engaged and inflected notions of past, present, and future.

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Mary Miller, Yale University. This five-part lecture series offers an overview of pre-Columbian art history, with detailed discussion of time, beauty, and truth in the visual cultures of ancient and colonial Mesoamerica. In this audio podcast of the first lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 18, 2010, art historian and archaeologist Mary Miller presents a history of the reception of pre-Columbian art from its arrival in Europe in the 16th century to the present day, as new discoveries continually transform the field.

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T. J. Clark, George C. and Helen N. Pardee Chair and professor of history of art, University of California, Berkeley. Centered on a group of paintings by Picasso from the 1920s, a series of six lectures traces the artist's path to Guernica. In this audio podcast of the sixth and final lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 3, 2009, the renowned art historian and professor T. J. Clark reflects on the place of Guernica in Picasso's repeated attempts to escape from the intimacy and containment of cubism, and to expose his painting to everything in the new century that threatened to make that "interior" a thing of the past.

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T. J. Clark, George C. and Helen N. Pardee Chair and professor of history of art, University of California, Berkeley. Centered on a group of paintings by Picasso from the 1920s, a series of six lectures traces the artist's path to Guernica. In this audio podcast of the fifth lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 26, 2009, the renowned art historian and professor T. J. Clark looks at Picasso's attempts in the late 1920s to escape from the room-space of cubism into a wider public world, populated by monsters (comic or tragic, benign or terrifying) on a grand scale.

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T. J. Clark, George C. and Helen N. Pardee Chair and professor of history of art, University of California, Berkeley. Centered on a group of paintings by Picasso from the 1920s, a series of six lectures traces the artist's path to Guernica. In this audio podcast of the fourth lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 19, 2009, the renowned art historian and professor T. J. Clark discusses Painter and Model, Picasso's largest canvas from 1927, and its corresponding sketchbook material, in which a monstrous conception of the body and sexuality accompanies a wholesale new vision of pictorial space.

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T. J. Clark, George C. and Helen N. Pardee Chair and professor of history of art, University of California, Berkeley. Centered on a group of paintings by Picasso from the 1920s, a series of six lectures traces the artist's path to Guernica. In this audio podcast of the third lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on April 5, 2009, the renowned art historian and professor T. J. Clark discusses Three Dancers (1925). The lecture centers on the Three Dancers' radical re-imagining of space, particularly the relation between interior and exterior, and the way this new spatiality brings Untruth into the room.

Audio

T. J. Clark, George C. and Helen N. Pardee Chair and professor of history of art, University of California, Berkeley. Centered on a group of paintings by Picasso from the 1920s, a series of six lectures traces the artist's path to Guernica. In this audio podcast of the second lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on March 29, 2009, the renowned art historian and professor T. J. Clark focuses on Guitar and Mandolin on a Table (1924). In this work, one of Picasso's largest still lifes, a new attempt is made to open the intimate, enclosed space of cubism to the outside world-the world of sheer appearance, rather than the previous Picasso world of possession and touch.

Audio

T. J. Clark, George C. and Helen N. Pardee Chair and professor of history of art, University of California, Berkeley. Centered on a group of paintings by Picasso from the 1920s, a series of six lectures traces the artist's path to Guernica. In this audio podcast of the first lecture, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on March 22, 2009, the renowned art historian and professor T. J. Clark discusses the sense of space epitomized by Picasso's The Blue Room, the artist's conception of the task of painting in the new century, and the relationships between his work and Friedrich Nietzsche's critique of Truth.