23 Sep - 21 Oct
90 Minutes
$15 - $25

Elevenses – Art + Music Insights

What are some of the great movements in art and music? Have you ever wanted to find out more about why the paintings of Monet are so famed or how classical music began and evolved?

Find out about exceptional masterpieces and explore the stories behind artists, composers and musicians who created these famous works in the new Art + Music Insights series; Elevenses at The Joan.

Lecturer of Music Dr Paul Smith (University of New England); and Penrith Regional Gallery Director Sheona White will guide you through four enlightening mornings of insight and discovery. Sessions begin at 11am with refreshments and a light morning tea, and finish at 12.30pm with a short break in the middle. Each talk will incorporate a short Q&A at the end.

Monday 9 September 11am – Romanticism in Music: The Composer’s Voice (Dr Paul Smith, University of New England)

The turn of the 19th century marked an important shift, where music started to become a direct expression of the composer. This was a sharp contrast to music of the Classical Period which was more directly wrapped up in a culture of private patronage, commissions, and sacred music. The beginning of the Romantic Period in music history saw composers crafting music for a newly formed middle class which demanded music that was borne of their emotional experiences in the world.

This talk will offer insights into the large number of new compositional techniques, instruments, and performance styles which developed during this transition. A major exponent of this was Schubert; and a love of salon music across Europe which offered intimate and special musical moments. This talk will also explore the first musical celebrities appearing around this time – the virtuosi – who appealed to large and diverse demographics. These composer-performers redefined the structure and role of the concerto and showcase a foundation for the ways money and music could be intertwined – a relationship that still exists today.

Monday 23 September 11am – Romantic Landscape: A Conversation with Nature (Sheona White, Penrith Regional Gallery Director)

Who are some of the famous Romantic landscape painters and how did they develop their sublime visions?

“The artist should not only paint what he sees before him, but also what he sees in himself,” stated Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840).

German artist, Friedrich and British artist, Turner take pride of place in major international art museums where they attract great visitor numbers with their enduring popularity. We look at the conversations they started with nature and the inspiration they have sparked in others, including Australian artists. Landscape in Australian art is persistently popular in many forms – this goes back to early colonial days and beyond. The famous Wynne Prize was won with a landscape painted in Emu Plains in 1919 and it remains the most popular painting in the collection at the Art Gallery of NSW.

We are drawn to landscape paintings because they evoke emotions and remind us how beautiful the world can be. Landscape painting is a constant influence in our popular visual culture through film, photography and even social media.

Monday 14 October 11am – The Great Divide: Music Trends in the Early 20th Century (Dr Paul Smith, University of New England)

During the first half of the 20th century, new musical languages were being developed across Europe, America and Australia. Many composers had to choose which camp they would side with. There was extensive pressure to adopt serialism, argued by Schoenberg as the music of the future, or continue using classical structures but deal with the pressure of finding ways to reinvent these ideas and forms. The result was a difficult period for composers and audiences alike, and a time of tense creative relationships around the world.

Out of this period comes some of the most thrilling, inventive, and highly regarded pieces of music; now standard classical music repertoire, including Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Rachmaninov’s three piano concertos. We will also look at music from female composers who made their mark, such as Ruth Crawford Seeger in America and Lili Boulanger in France.

The Great Divide will explore the trends and characters of this time and look at them within the global politics of the early 20th century.

Monday 21 October 11am – French and Australian Impressionism (Sheona White, Penrith Regional Gallery Director)

Exhibitions of Monet and Van Gogh are well known to draw huge crowds and long queues all around the world. What is the compelling allure of their paintings? What is the context that nurtured these talented artists?

French Impressionism arose at a time of great change and the paintings often depict scenes of leisure in public parks, gardens and social spaces of entertainment. Yet they also depict the work that goes into these pleasurable pursuits such as the hard work of ballerinas’ rehearsals, and laundresses keeping fashions beautiful.

The artists of Australian Impressionism were thought to be the first to capture a real Australian landscape in oil paint and as a key moment in Modernism, this rich period in art evokes many fascinating insights into the life and times of the late 1800s and early 1900s.

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