How do we tell the story of what it is to be human? It’s a question that every age and every culture has addressed. And where better for an artist to begin such an exploration than with the human figure itself.
From the imprint of a hand in the earliest cave paintings to 21st century digital modelling, the depictions of ourselves, our loved ones, our enemies, our gods and goddesses, are arguably the most eloquent illustration of the human condition.
In 2019, the Society’s Art Appreciation lecture series will study how we look at ourselves and in what ways. With the nude we embody physical beauty and human frailty: the ancient Greeks, Rubens, Lucian Freud. The portrait reveals personality and power: Van Dyck, Gainsborough, Picasso. Social revolution, political upheaval and protest all find expression in the human form.
Over 36 weeks, in lectures by 31 distinguished curators and art historians, Being human: the figure in art, will wrestle with one of the greatest challenges for an artist. How to show us as we are – and who we are.