Lectures are in the ArtsHouse: 10.45 for morning members: 13.30 for afternoon members.
Thursday 20 September 2018
As Good as Gold
Speaker: Alexandra Epps
In celebration of the Golden Anniversary, Alexandra Epps delivered to Stradfas members a stunning lecture exploring the story of gold and its significance and symbolism within the history of art. The sun and gold are forever linked together, with the colour itself seen as the physical sweat of the sun. In Christianity, there have been golden icons and halos such as seen during the early Renaissance in Giotto’s “Adoration of the Kings” where sacred people are depicted with halos.
A three dimensional image is created with the introduction of blue from lapis lazuli. In The Wilton Diptych, illustrating the adoration of kings, where Richard ll is presented to the Madonna and Child, the gold paint is layered and sculpted so it appears as if the viewer is looking at jewels. In the Annunciation of Fra Angelica, golden rays are portrayed in which can be seen the dove as an expression of the Holy Spirit.
Botticelli’s Birth of Venus has many gold details such as in the angel wings, the roses and the cloak. At the time it was believed that if you can worship physical beauty you are on your way to realising spiritual beauty. Gold coins have been depicted in paintings by varied artists such as Titian and Dutch artists as in The Moneylender and his Wife.
The Kiss by Klimt from 1906 uses gold leaf depicting rain feeding the flowers whilst the couple seem surrounded by a gold cosmos. Vienna was going through changes and there was unease at the time. Klimt’s portrait of Adele Block- Bauer has so much gold in it that the lady seems secondary so it is all about the glitter rather than the person. In the 1960’s many artists separated gold from the idea of religion; Yves Klein felt gold symbolised infinity. A modern use of gold was seen where golden sweets were used for an artistic display so the viewer takes a sweet and becomes part of the painting. The sweets are replaced thus giving the idea of regeneration. She ended with a modern interpretation of the sun in The Weather Project by Olafur Eliasson who, in 2003, created a large sun to enhance the viewer’s experience.