Philosophy talks in London

Jun
17
Mon
The experience of self in Plato’s Phaedrus – a reading and discussion
Jun 17 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

What is a human being?

To understand the nature of anything there are some basic questions which should be explored:

What are its causes? What is its history? What drives its activities? What potential does it possess? What is its ultimate goal?

So the opening line of Plato’s Phaedrus, “Where are you going, my dear Phaedrus, and from whence came you?” is a strong hint that the dialogue is going to offer the reader a chance to examine some fundamental issues of selfhood. And so it turns out: its sixty or so pages not only present us with the widest possible frame in which to view our human nature and experience, but it is packed with extraordinary subtle insights. We will read some extracts from the dialogue and explore some of these fundamental questions.

No previous experience of formal philosophy is required.

Entrance in free, but donations between £2-5 will be welcomed.

A PDF download of the extract we will be reading is available on our website together with further details of this and other Prometheus Trust’s activities: www.prometheustrust.co.uk (the PDF is on the “London Monday Evenings” page.)

Jun
18
Tue
The Course / Art & Critical Analysis (Vermeer) 6/8
Jun 18 @ 10:45 am – 12:45 pm
The Course / Art & Critical Analysis (Vermeer) 6/8 @ The Course at The University Womens Club | England | United Kingdom

Established in 1994, The Course offers exciting lectures in Art History, Literature and Music.

From the earliest times, there has been criticism of art, both positive and negative. A substantial body of text survives and this series will look at a wide variety of European art works in the context of their critical reception. Concentrating on major works and significant artists from 1300 to 1900 and beyond, we will observe the impact on the public’s appreciation of art and how that might be influenced by critical analysis including the vagaries of fashion. What impact did these commentaries have on art practice and the artists themselves and can critics be seen to be responsible for influencing and thus changing the course of art history?

Fame, Bankruptcy and Critical Revival

Vermeer the Sphinx of Delft (1632 – 1675)

For an artist who died bankrupt in 1675 leaving enormous debts, Vermeer has become one of the most highly prized artists in the world. This lecture will look at his rise as an artist in the Dutch town of Delft, his training and influences, how and why he made his pictures and what they might mean. Could these factors have an impact on why he was described in his lifetime as “the excellent and famous Vermeer”? The story of Vermeer will take us right into the 20th century to help us understand the enduring appeal of this artist.

Jun
25
Tue
The Course / Art & Critical Analysis (Hogarth) 7/8
Jun 25 @ 10:45 am – 12:45 pm
The Course / Art & Critical Analysis (Hogarth) 7/8 @ The Course at The University Womens Club | England | United Kingdom

Established in 1994, The Course offers exciting lectures in Art History, Literature and Music.

From the earliest times, there has been criticism of art, both positive and negative. A substantial body of text survives and this series will look at a wide variety of European art works in the context of their critical reception. Concentrating on major works and significant artists from 1300 to 1900 and beyond, we will observe the impact on the public’s appreciation of art and how that might be influenced by critical analysis including the vagaries of fashion. What impact did these commentaries have on art practice and the artists themselves and can critics be seen to be responsible for influencing and thus changing the course of art history?

Hogarth and the Art of the Conversation Piece and Social Commentary

The impact of Criticism on the work of William Hogarth (1697-1764)

Hogarth is rightly acknowledged to be one of the best loved British artists, but in his day, this was not the case. We will look at the impact of criticism on Hogarth’s work through the pictures which Hogarth referred to as conversation pieces. The lecture will highlight both the positives and negatives which were seen by many as a social commentary while also looking at Hogarth’s own prejudices and how they impacted on his work.

Jul
1
Mon
Platonic Education in the Phaedrus – reading and discussion
Jul 1 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Plato’s understanding of the nature of education is one of the truly liberating doctrines of the ancient world – and one which is largely neglected in modern times to detriment of the individual and global society. “All learning is reminiscence” is its keynote – and Plato explores this starting point as the necessary outcome of conceiving the self to be a soul which has descended into its present embodied form full of innate reasons or ideas. For him and those philosophers who followed the Platonic path, our experiences in the material world are reminders of the great eternal ideas upon which the whole of manifested reality is based; education is the process by which the latent ideas within the self are drawn out into full consciousness and thence into creative activity. We will explore this understanding using passages from the Phaedrus as our starting point. 

No previous experience of formal philosophy is required.

Entrance in free, but donations between £2-5 will be welcomed.

A PDF download of the extract we will be reading is available on our website together with further details of this and other Prometheus Trust’s activities: www.prometheustrust.co.uk (the PDF is on the “London Monday Evenings” page.)

Jul
2
Tue
The Course / Art & Critical Analysis 8/8
Jul 2 @ 10:45 am – 12:45 pm
The Course / Art & Critical Analysis 8/8 @ The Course at The University Womens Club | England | United Kingdom

Established in 1994, The Course offers exciting lectures in Art History, Literature and Music.

From the earliest times, there has been criticism of art, both positive and negative. A substantial body of text survives and this series will look at a wide variety of European art works in the context of their critical reception. Concentrating on major works and significant artists from 1300 to 1900 and beyond, we will observe the impact on the public’s appreciation of art and how that might be influenced by critical analysis including the vagaries of fashion. What impact did these commentaries have on art practice and the artists themselves and can critics be seen to be responsible for influencing and thus changing the course of art history?

A Catalyst for Change in Art Appreciation

From Pre-Raphaelitism & Ruskin to Impressionism, Modernity & Roger Fry (1848 – 1910)

Revolutionary iconoclasts or traditionalist in disguise? The artists in this final session seem hell-bent on causing offence and to be deliberately counter-culture just for the sake of it. Was this in reality their modus operandi or was there more to it? This session looks at two different approaches to modernity from both sides of the Chanel which changed the course of art history forever. In England, we will look at the Pre-Raphaelites and their relationship with John Ruskin and on the French side of the Chanel, the Impressionists and their critical reception. In both cases, the role of the critic, be it supportive or not, was crucial in establishing the reputation of these groups of artists. This session will also explore the tensions between artists and critics in what would become known as modern painting.

Sep
24
Tue
The Course/Princely Patronage in the Italian Renaissance 1/10
Sep 24 @ 10:45 am – 12:45 pm
The Course/Princely Patronage in the Italian Renaissance 1/10 @ The University Womens Club

Started in 1994, The Course offers Art History, Literature, Music and Opera Lectures.

In Princely Patronage, a series of 10 lectures, we will examine how for nearly two centuries, some dozen city states waged war and their leaders competed to create spheres of both authority and magnificence. Artists from Italy and abroad flourished, moving from court to court, sharing influences and creating ever more sumptuous environments. This series examines the role of the ruling families, their spectacular personalities and projects, and the values of the age in driving this artistic flowering.

 

Introduction and the Court Artist

Why the arts? What is a Prince? Were they all leaders of taste? We begin by exploring some of the key themes and figures of this series before moving on to examine the qualities, experience and identity of the “court artist”.

Nov
7
Thu
The Course / Leonardo da Vinci: The Life of the Universal Man 7/10
Nov 7 @ 10:45 am – 12:45 pm
The Course / Leonardo da Vinci: The Life of the Universal Man 7/10 @ The Course at the University Women's Club

Started in 1994, The Course offers Art History, Literature, Music and Opera Lectures.

We have all heard of the great master of the Renaissance – Leonardo da Vinci. Speculation regarding the true life and meaning of his work has been rife for centuries. Books such as the Da Vinci Code and many others only serve to confirm and equally to confuse us. So how much do we really know? How did he become such a great artist, how famous was he in his own lifetime, was he rich and where and how did he learn his craft? This series of lectures will give you an insight into the life of this great artist; charting the beginnings of his career, the highs and the lows, and finding out just how and why he became the ultimate and universal genius we now regard him.

Drawing Becomes Art

The emergence of drawing as an art form has always been hard to pinpoint. In this lecture, we will look at Leonardo’s drawings and examine how and why this art form might be attributed to him. We will also look at the Burlington Cartoon in London’s National Gallery, its life, history and production, and ask why this unfinished work has been seen as the earliest example of drawing as art and why it holds such a special place in the Gallery’s collection.

Nov
14
Thu
The Course / Leonardo da Vinci: The Life of the Universal Man 8/10
Nov 14 @ 10:45 am – 12:45 pm
The Course / Leonardo da Vinci: The Life of the Universal Man 8/10 @ The Course at The University Women's Club

Started in 1994, The Course offers Art History, Literature, Music and Opera Lectures.

We have all heard of the great master of the Renaissance – Leonardo da Vinci. Speculation regarding the true life and meaning of his work has been rife for centuries. Books such as the Da Vinci Code and many others only serve to confirm and equally to confuse us. So how much do we really know? How did he become such a great artist, how famous was he in his own lifetime, was he rich and where and how did he learn his craft? This series of lectures will give you an insight into the life of this great artist; charting the beginnings of his career, the highs and the lows, and finding out just how and why he became the ultimate and universal genius we now regard him.

Signature Projects

We will look in detail at some of Leonardo’s major projects: the Last Supper, The Madonna of the Rock and The Battle of Cascina and discuss how these works were realised, what was the thinking behind them and how do they compare with works by his contemporaries? We will also look at the work of collaborators on these projects and ask how much is theirs and how much Leonardo’s and why do we care?