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Cultural Highlights - February

Updated: Feb 14

It’s February! The month of love with St. Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Learn about the Ancient Greeks and how they celebrated their romances as one of the most influential civilisations!

If you’re not in the mood for the smushy stuff then you might be interested in the role of birds – stay with us! Did you know birds had a pivotal role in WWII? Our feathery friends also inspired a very famous aircraft…

Listen to our wonderful Corinne Jones to find out more!


6th February at 7pm - Faith, Race and other in North Italian Sculpture

Northwest Italy in the early modern period witnessed a flourishing of religious sculptural ensembles, rendered in polychrome terracotta and wood, representing scenes from Christ’s Passion and death. Works of this genre range from intimate scenes of the Deposition and Lamentation above altars in churches, to series of elaborate multimedia chapels situated on the ‘Sacri Monti’, pilgrimage sites at the foot of the Italian Alps


6th February at 7pm - The role of birds in World War Two

In the wartime birds came into their own, helping to define our national identity. One of the most popular bird books ever, Watching Birds, was published in 1940 while songs like There’ll be Bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover epitomized the blitz spirit. Birds even featured in wartime propaganda movies like the 1941 classic The First of the Few starring Leslie Howard where they inspired the design of the Spitfire. Along the coast flooding to prevent a German invasion helped the avocet make a remarkable return while the black redstart found an unlikely home in our bombed-out buildings.


13th February at 9pm - Jackson Pollock

Swoosh, splatter, smear! How can an artist paint and perform to a live performance at the same time? How can a person’s body be used as a paintbrush? Explore the impact of Jackson Pollock on future generations of groundbreaking performance artists.


14th February at 7pm - The Greeks and love

Step back in time to ancient Greece and explore the complex and fascinating of love and marriage in this special Valentine's Day NHM Discussion that delves into the heart and hearts of one of history's most influential civilizations. Uncover the profound cultural and societal nuances that shaped the Greeks' understanding of love, as well as the intricate rituals and ceremonies that surrounded marriage.


15th February at 5pm - Art in Focus

For the first Art in Focus event of 2024, we’ll be taking a close look at this small gold-ground tempera panel painting, on loan to the Fairfield University Art Museum from Berea College. Join us on Thursday, February 15 for an informal discussion of this work, led by Curator of Education Michelle DiMarzo, PhD. Bring your questions and observations to the conversation! You can check the painting out in advance in our galleries or online at this link.


16th February at 1pm - William Blake and George Watts

In many ways, William Blake (1757–1827) and George Frederic Watts (1817–1904) were entirely different artists. Blake died in relative obscurity, Watts catapulted to meteoric fame during his lifetime. Blake derided Venetian artists for their muddy colours and mushy forms, preferring hard, bounded, wiry outlines; Watts embraced the exact kind of art Blake reviled, melting colours and shapes, diffusing figures and forms into wispy, atmospheric vapours. Yet, for all their differences, Watts and Blake were wonderfully kindred spirits. 


19th February at 2pm - John Keats

Following his death at the age of 25, John Keats became one of the most influential poets of the 19th century. His quest for poetic beauty led him to forge a voice of melancholy and longing, which won him the adoration of his peers and successive generations. While many later poets acknowledged a debt to his themes and form, his narrative poems, akin to Tennyson’s later medieval poems, fuelled the imagination of a generation of artists. The Pre-Raphaelites in particular saw in him kindred, radical spirit and were moved by his painterly poetic vision.


22nd February 7pm - The Hagia Sophia: Past and Future

One of the beautiful and controversial pieces of architecture in human history, this 90-minute lecture will explore the building’s 1,500 year history. This talk will discuss the ethnic and interreligious conflict, the importance of sacred spaces, and the preservation of cultural heritage sites.


27th February at 2pm. Art and the court of King Richard 11

The patronage of King Richard II and his court encouraged the creation of some of the most beautiful and impressive works of art in late fourteenth century England. These include the portrait of Richard II in Westminster Abbey, the earliest surviving panel portrait of an English monarch, the so-called Crown of Princess Blanche, regarded as one of the greatest surviving masterpieces of gothic jewellery, and the Wilton Diptych, undoubtedly the most important and most beautiful painting to survive from medieval England. 


28th February at 5pm - Fashion in Paris

Through a discussion of representations in literature and art, this talk explores how Paris fashion constructed its exclusive and exclusionary world. It also casts light on some of the marginalized players in the field of fashion. In doing so, it expands fashion’s borders by demystifying the discourses that swirl around Paris fashion.

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