Volume 2: Myths and Legends at the National Gallery with Hattie Bennett - Context Travel

Volume 2: Myths and Legends at the National Gallery with Hattie Bennett


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Cupid, Venus, Mars, and Diana are amongst the mythological figures featured in many of the greatest paintings in the National Gallery. From the 15th century Florence to 19th century France, classical mythology has inspired artists with allegorical and narrative scenes of love, conflict, and beauty.

We will begin with Botticelli's lyrical painting of Venus and Mars, an allegory of the defeat of war by love and the only mythological painting by Botticelli outside Italy. Ovid's epic Bacchus and Ariadne are condensed by the young Titian combining supreme storytelling with technical perfection to create a coherent and action-packed painting. Titian re-visits Ovid throughout his life creating a series of paintings for Philip II of Spain, three of which are in the National Gallery's collection and demonstrate Titian's ever-evolving painting style.

In the 17th century, Velázquez painted Venus at her Toilette (The Rokeby Venus) one of the most tantalizing nudes in art history, whilst the inclusion of an image of Cupid in a genre interior by Vermeer suggests a narrative of love. We will look at an example of a landscape by the French artist Claude Lorraine whose pastoral scenes are inhabited with gods and goddesses and discuss the influence on the great English artist J M W Turner.

As well as enjoying the paintings we will discuss the context in which they were produced, In a time when the church and religious imagery were dominant, mythological subjects were commissioned for private enjoyment, usually by men!

This conversation is the second in a two-part series. Each seminar can be joined independently and in any order. 
Volume 1: Sacred Art of the National Gallery with Hattie Bennett
Volume 2: Myths and Legends at the National Gallery with Hattie Bennett

Hattie has a degree in History of Art and an MA in Historic Interiors, she has a life-long passion and fascination in Fine and Decorative Arts, particularly works produced in Europe from the 16th to 18th century. After working for the Royal Collection in the Print Room at Windsor Castle, she was a curator for a private collector of 17th and 18th-century prints and drawings. Hattie has worked for London's foremost framer of important old master paintings during which time she sharpened her appreciation and understanding of the decorative arts and the changing tastes of collecting. Recently she has been dealing in prints and works of art as well as taking groups of all ages to museums and galleries.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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