THE ARTS SOCIETY BERLIN
Programme + Synopses for 2021
Monday, 25 January 2021 – NICOLA MOORBY
TURNER VS CONSTABLE: THE GREAT BRITISH PAINT-OFF
This is the story of the epic rivalry between the two giants of British art, J.M.W. Turner and John Constable. As unlike in background and temperament as their paintings were in style, these two creative geniuses transformed the art of landscape. This lecture sets them head-to-head and examines their differences, their similarities, their battles and their shared triumphs. But who will ultimately be crowned star painter? As well as giving an overview of Turner and Constable, the subject provides an enjoyable overview of the British art world during the nineteenth century.
Monday, 22 February 2021 – CHRIS ASLAN ALEXANDER
UNRAVELLING THE SILK ROAD
Wool, cotton and silk have each played a crucial role in the fortunes of Central Asia. Wool created the clothing and housing needed by the great nomadic cultures that were to dominate Middle Asia. Silk was more valuable than gold and used as currency, creating a network of trading routes that led to the first outbreak of globalisation. Cotton was the cause of Russian and then Soviet Colonisation and continues to cause controversy today as well as human misery and environmental catastrophe The felts, carpets, embroideries, robes and veils of the Silk Road stratified wealth, displayed religious and political entrenchments and changed the fortunes of this fascinating part of the world; a meeting place between Mohammed and Marx.
MONDAY, 22 MARCH 2021 –TIMOTHY WALKER
PARADISE LOST & RESTORED - 400 YEARS OF GARDEN DESIGN IN OXFORDSHIRE (THE HISTORY OF GARDEN DESIGN THROUGH THE LENS OF THE OXFORD BOTANIC GARDEN)
The history of English garden design can be told in different ways, but rarely can it be told "through the lens" of one garden. The Oxford Botanic Garden was founded at the beginning of the 17th century and its design bears all the hallmarks of 17th century design. Through the next 400 years successive Horti Praefecti (head gardeners) changed the features reflecting the art of gardening, and very occasionally the science of botany. This talk looks at how the art of gardening has changed, or perhaps has not, in four centuries in Oxfordshire and how the Oxford Botanic Garden now reflects garden design at the beginning of the 21st century. The title of the talk refers to the fact that one of the motivations for garden design remains the desire to create paradise on Earth. The meaning of paradise may now be less rooted in the Biblical account of the rise and fall of man, but there is still a clear vision of what we would like the world to resemble.
Monday, 26 April 2021 – CHARLIE FORMAN
CANARY WHARF: A JOURNEY BACK TO THE FUTURE
Canary Wharf was a totally new concept which revived London’s Docklands. Or was it? This lecture takes you back to the foundations of the West India Docks with their magnificent warehouses and follows through to the modern financial centre. It shows how history has repeated itself – from the massive scale of the development with buildings to marvel at, to the use of the ‘island’ setting, the innovative transport connections, the private security systems, the economic powerhouse, the opposition of the City of London. It is all there in a lecture that tells these parallel stories separated by 200 years, while also giving a glimpse of neighbouring Limehouse, with its flagship Nicholas Hawksmoor church, that was a riverside community long before the docks were dreamt of. We meet the likes of Robert Stephenson and William Adam from the first wave of development and come across César Pelli and Norman Foster in the second.
MONDAY, 31 MAY 2021 – MARY ALEXANDER
RIVIERA PARADISE: ART; DESIGN AND PLEASURE IN THE 1920s
Since the C19 English high society had 'wintered over' on the Côte d'Azur, but always left by April.
In the early 1920's, however, an intoxicating mix of artists, writers, musicians and international visitors, inspired by a mythological seascape of luminous colours, created a new summer season. Sun tans and sportswear soon became 'de rigueur' in the chic new coastal resorts, villas and hotels. This liberating playground of ideas across the visual design arts was stimulated by impresarios Serge Diaghilev and Paul Poiret. Traditional boundaries were torn down. Matisse, Picasso, Dufy, Cocteau, and Chanel merged the worlds of fashion, theatre and interiors. Cole Porter, Scott Fitzgerald, and the intriguing Gerald and Sara Murphy, introduced an American perspective and attracted an influential new set of discerning patrons and collectors. We will 'time travel' to meet them.
MONDAY, 20 SEPTEMBER 2021 – JANE TAPLEY
AGATHA CHRISTIE: QUEEN OF CRIME
Agatha Christie is undoubtedly the world’s greatest crime writer, her books sell over four million copies worldwide every year and there is a continual demand for new adaptations to be made of her work. She led a sheltered and privileged life in her native Torquay which was not dissimilar to the characters she invented. She was brought up in the comfort of upper middle class society and she too had mystery in her life. To find out more about this remarkable author who created Poirot and Miss Marple book this biographical talk. It will surprise and enlighten you about how she developed her talent for writing having never attended a proper school.
Monday, 25 October 2021 – PETER MEDHURST
VIVALDI IN VENICE
Vivaldi is the one Baroque composer whose music is a direct reflection of the city in which it was composed. Listen to a Vivaldi concerto and hey presto you are transported directly to the heart of 18th century Venice. The reasons for this are many – Vivaldi’s passion for colour, display and spectacle in his music; the unusual way in which Venice solved its problems with the poor and the homeless; Vivaldi’s health problems and his eccentricities as a man and a priest. Against the luxurious backdrop of 18th century Venice, and with live musical performances, this lecture explores the amazing world of Vivaldi’s music - music that is as intrinsically Venetian as the canvasses of Canaletto.
MONDAY, 29 NOVEMBER 2021 – AMINAWRIGHT
JOSEPH OF NAZARETH: BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
The figure of Mary’s husband Joseph is familiar from Christmas cards, carols, cribs and nativity plays, yet in the Bible he never speaks a word. It took many centuries for the quiet carpenter to emerge from humble obscurity and for artists to make his image visible. This lecture explores the many legends and faces of Joseph through the ages, from wizened old man to powerful guardian. Come and discover the hidden depths in that simple bearded figure on your Christmas cards; but please remember that although this lecture may be particularly appropriate for December meetings, Joseph is for life, not just for Christmas.