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History - Art & Culture
Art and its appreciation should be inclusive. Too often it is presented in terms which are impenetrable and confusing. The aim of these talks is not only to provide some plain English explanations of the terminology used in the Art world, but also to help people to LOOK at a painting rather than just SEE it. One small step in making Art Appreciation accessible to all.

Chris is an engaging speaker with a passion for Art and an eagerness to share his understanding with others. He has delivered his talks on Art History and Art Appreciation at Art workshops and on board Princess cruise ships.

“We found Chris's Art talks fascinating and very informative. Thank you.”
Elizabeth Press, Princess guest

“I asked Chris to speak at our Christmas Art workshop in 2016. Chris gave an extremely interesting, entertaining talk on Art Appreciation. I received excellent feedback from the art students who learnt a lot from his talk.”
Roger Febery, Art Lecturer

Talk 1: The Architecture of Antoni Gaudi
Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is a Mediterranean and cosmopolitan city with Roman remains, medieval quarters and the most beautiful examples of 20th century Modernism and avant-garde. It is no surprise that emblematic constructions by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

Even if you don’t know anything about architecture or Gaudí; when you walk the streets of Barcelona you will intuitively be able to identify a Gaudí building – they are unmistakable. In this session, we reflect on the life and works of the architect who has arguably had, and continues to have, the most profound effect on the city of Barcelona, and I will share with you information on four of his most evocative works.

Talk 2: The Italian Renaissance
Florence, capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. One of its most iconic sights is the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto. The Galleria dell'Accademia displays Michelangelo’s “David” sculpture. The Uffizi Gallery exhibits Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “Annunciation.”

The Italian Renaissance was a period of great cultural change that began in Italy during the 14th century and lasted until the 17th century, marking the transition between Medieval and Modern Europe. The French word renaissance means "Rebirth". The European Renaissance began in Tuscany and centred in the city of Florence.

The term Renaissance means rebirth and generally refers to the traditional period of 1400 to 1600. The Italian Renaissance is best known for its achievements in painting, architecture, sculpture, literature, music, philosophy, science and exploration. In this talk we will look at some major works of culture alongside important political events that occurred during this timeline.

Talk 3: Optical Illusions
Optical Illusions can use colour, light and patterns to create images that can be deceptive or misleading to our brains. The information gathered by the eye is processed by the brain, creating a perception that in reality, does not match the true image. We don’t give a second thought to the day to day processes of looking and seeing. Our eyes and our brains work seamlessly to help us to make sense of the world.
In this session, we will use lots of optical illusions to fool the eye, fool the brain and understand how artists use these deceptions in their art works

Talk 4: Rome's Art Masterpieces
It would take a lifetime to soak in all of the culture and art that Rome has to offer. In this talk I will select just some of the standout masterpieces. Awe-inspiring works lie within museums, churches and palazzos around the city and cover different periods, mediums and styles.

The Vatican Museums are Christian and art museums located within the city boundaries of the Vatican City. They display works from the immense collection amassed by popes throughout the centuries including several of the most renowned Roman sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world.

Talk 5: The Story Behind the Painting : Jan Van Eyck and Titian
A painting is not just a collection of images of figures and objects. There are often hidden meanings which are less obvious to the casual viewer.
Using the information learned from the first 2 sessions we will take a closer look at two famous paintings in order to highlight the story behind it.
Featured paintings are “The Arnolfini Wedding” by Jan van Eyck and “Bacchus and Ariadne” by Titian.

Talk 6: The Story Behind the Painting : Turner and Holbein
Paintings often reflect key moments of historical turmoil. Through subtle use of composition, objects and sometime romanticized imagery, artists convey their thoughts and emotions through their work.
Using the information learned from the first 2 sessions we will take a closer look at two famous paintings in order to highlight the story behind it.
Featured paintings are “The Fighting Temeraire” by J.M.W. Turner and “The Ambassadors” by Hans Holbein the younger.

Talk 7: Colour & Composition
The Eye can distinguish millions of colours, and artists use this ability to provide depth and interest to their work. In addition, the arrangement of objects within a painting enables the artist to lead the viewer through the image they have created. In this session, we will go back to basics with colour, and look at some rules, techniques and science used in art composition.
I have delivered enrichment talks on a Princess cruise in 2016 and a Celebrity cruise in 2018.