The Wilton Diptych and King Richard II with Athene Reiss

The Wilton Diptych and King Richard II with Athene Reiss


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The Wilton Diptych is one of the stand-out surviving paintings from English medieval courtly art. Exquisitely painted, symbolically meaningful, and conceptually layered, this personal portable altarpiece provides a fascinating view into the courtly art and political context of Richard II’s reign as King of England.

This seminar will explore the Diptych and its meaning for Richard. The altarpiece was small enough for Richard to take along as a personal devotional object when he traveled to Scotland and Ireland. It features his favorite saints and glorious predecessors as King of England, including John the Baptist and Edward the Confessor. Each pictorial element had profound significance for Richard, and unpicking these references will allow us to enter his courtly and religious world.

We will also have the opportunity to enjoy the Wilton Diptych as a fine work of art that well deserves its place in London’s National Gallery. The panel is exquisitely worked, and detailed images will allow us to see the elaborately tooled gold, the exotic ultramarine blue paint made from Afghanistani lapis lazuli, and the subtle modeling of the figures. Prepare to be entranced by its beauty, fascinated by the layered symbolism, and intrigued by the mysteries surrounding its origins.

Led by an expert on the history of European art, Athene Reiss, this interactive seminar will explore the imagery and symbolism of King Richard II’s Wilton Diptych. Designed to inform curiosity and future travels, participants will come away with an increased appreciation and understanding of this stunning work of English Gothic art.

Athene Reiss was born in Oxford, grew up in Connecticut in the US, and returned to Oxford, where she has lived and taught for the past 25 years. She has published a book and articles on topics in medieval art and environmental education. She loves teaching art and architectural history, and is particularly passionate about encouraging deep engagement with artistic visualisations of ideas and and allowing works of art to help us understand the past and question the present. Athene has also taught environmental education to children and adults and enjoys exploring Oxford's mix of cultural and natural environments.

This conversation is not suitable for children under age 16

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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C
C.F.
Wilton Diptych
A
A.
Interesting Seminar
R
R.W.
Fascinating discussion of an English national treasure
M
M.
The Wilton Diptych
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M.S.

Customer Reviews

Based on 7 reviews
100%
(7)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
C
C.F.
Wilton Diptych
A
A.
Interesting Seminar
R
R.W.
Fascinating discussion of an English national treasure
M
M.
The Wilton Diptych
M
M.S.