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Gallery Talks
Art and Photography in the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration

Part I
November 19 at 1:00
(90 minutes)
West Building Lecture Hall
David Gariff

Part II
November 21 at 1:00
(90 minutes)
West Building Lecture Hall
David Gariff

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, this two-part lecture examines representative examples of Antarctic art and photography created during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration (from the end of the 19th century to 1922). Antarctica was the last place on earth to be discovered and explored. It was, to many, like going to the moon. The Antarctic expeditions of Robert Falcon Scott (1868–1912), Roald Amundsen (1872–1928), Ernest Shackleton (1874–1922), and Douglas Mawson (1882–1958) were the equivalent of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs of NASA. Accompanying the various expeditions were artists and photographers, most notably Herbert Ponting (1870–1935) and Frank Hurley (1885–1962). The photographs, films, paintings, and drawings made by these artist-explorers reveal the triumphs and tragedies of first attempts to reach the South Pole. Today, locations on the moon attest to the continuing link between the heroic accomplishments of Antarctic explorers and lunar astronauts. Photographs of the polar landscape resemble the lunar surface. “Shackleton,” named after the Antarctic explorer, is an impact crater that lies at the South Pole of the moon. And NASA is now working to send American astronauts to a place no human has ever gone before: the lunar South Pole.

John Ward of Hull, The Northern Whale Fishery: The "Swan" and "Isabella", c. 1840, oil on canvas, The Lee and Juliet Folger Fund, 2007.114.1

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