Dido Powell’s London gallery tours
Following the popularity of the first series of London Gallery tours (2016-17), and launching during the Battle of Ideas festival 2017, Dido Powell has designed a new series focusing on how artists reflect changing ideas of the self. Each tour will take place on Sundays, meeting at 10.15am for a 10.30 start, at designated galleries, and will last for about 90 minutes.
Tour 1: Sunday 19 November 2017 – The National Gallery, London
RELIGION AND THE INDIVIDUAL: INTERPRETATIONS OF THE SELF IN RELIGIOUS PAINTINGS
Paintings of religious figures and events will be explored to show how artists from the Early Renaissance to the Baroque era grappled with concepts of human agency within Christianity, with concepts of isolation and the mental and physical struggle in both a divided self, as well as images of an harmonious self. The Early Renaissance ascetic, intellectual and contemplative treatment of religious themes will be compared with that of an emotional religious experience in Baroque art, which celebrates the centrality of the self in active experience and revelation, promoting counter-reformation theology.
Artists: Masaccio, Giovanni Bellini, Piero della Francesca, Caravaggio, Velazquez and others.
Tour 2: Sunday 21 January 2018 – The National Gallery, London
BODY, SOUL AND IMAGE: THE INNER SELF AND IMAGES OF CULTURE, VIRTUE, POWER AND DESIRE
We will explore a variety of portraits and nudes to investigate the dynamic interaction between the outer and the inner self, considering the soul as the centre of selfhood, independent from external authority. Authority itself will be explored through its presentation as culture, virtue and intellectual strength in portraits reliant upon external props as emanations of the individual’s attributes; even nudes will be explored to reveal the competitive self, the vain self, and the role of attraction and the gaze in art.
Artists: Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian, Van Dycke, Velazquez and others.
Tour 3: Sunday 25 February 2018 – The Courtauld Gallery, London
(NB additional fee for entry to gallery)
IMPRESSIONISM AND POST IMPRESSIONISM: THE ARTIST’S SUBJECTIVE FILTER AND THE SUBJECTS OF HEDONISM AND ALIENATION
Individual sensation, and a heightened sensitivity to the moment will be discussed in reference to landscapes in which the self is a filter for objective reality; artists strove to reduce conscious decisions from the act of painting. Urban images will be explored to reveal themes of the fractured self in crowds, and Post Impressionist interest in primitivism offers examples of personal escapism from the influence of environmental factors in moulding the self.
Artists: Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Paul Cezanne, Eduard Manet, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin and others.
Tour 4: Sunday 25 March 2018 – Tate Modern
SURREALISM: EXPLORATION OF THE INNER SELF, THE UNCONSCIOUS AND OBJECTS OF DESIRE
Works of art exploring themes from the unconscious will be discussed in relation to the role of imagination and freedom in determining a sense of self. The impact of manipulating materials to excite reactions which surprise both audience and artist will be considered. We will also discuss the egotism of outrageous acts and the importance of the sex drive to artistic drive and the fulfilment of the individual. Works will be chosen from the 1920’s onwards.
Artists: Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, Paul Delvaux and more recent artists.
Tour 5: Sunday 29 April 2018 – Tate Modern
ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISTS, MINIMALISTS AND BODY ART IN THE 20TH CENTURY: THE EXISTENTIAL SELF, THE ELIMINATED SELF AND THE TRANSPOSED SELF
We will look at Jackson Pollock, his dripping action paintings, an arena for the outpouring of the existential self; minimalist sculptor Donald Judd, the elimination of the self and the artistic gesture; and finally Body Art, dealing with visceral, seeping aspects of the body, gender and Gilbert and George’s exploration of individual and group identity.