- 4 June 2020
- This is the second lecture in a six-part series, titled Georgian Provocations: Six Iconic Works of Art from Eighteenth-Century Britain.
This lecture is now available.
Richard Wilson – unlike Gainsborough, Reynolds, Constable or Turner – is today not a household name. Yet, in the eighteenth century he was a towering presence in British and European landscape art, an artist who transformed the way in which other painters looked at nature and how they regarded the traditions of landscape painting. The turning point for Wilson, and for those whom he influenced, was his decision in the spring of 1750 to travel to Italy. It was there, during his exploration of the Italian landscape, its culture and traditions that he first conceived and probably painted The White Monk. Unlike other iconic works of the British School, such as The Haywain by John Constable, or The Fighting Temeraire by J.M.W. Turner, there is not one definitive ‘White Monk’ but a multiplicity of related compositions, that can be viewed as variations on a theme. In this talk Martin Postle explores the origins of The White Monk, its pictorial evolution and meaning, setting it in the context of Wilson’s Italian sojourn during the 1750s, and in the context of the cultural geography of the Grand Tour.
Georgian Provocations: Six Iconic Works of Art from Eighteenth-Century Britain is a one-off summer Public Lecture Course, delivered online, which is designed to provide an accessible and stimulating introduction to the art of the period. In this series of six 30-minute lectures, the art-historians Mark Hallett and Martin Postle focus on seminal paintings from the Georgian era, and investigate their contents, contexts and impact. Doing so reveals many of the ideas and issues that coursed through British visual culture between the 1730s and the 1790s, and demonstrates the riches that continue to be gained from looking closely at the individual work of art.
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About the speaker
Martin’s role as Senior Research Fellow focuses upon the research and writing of a catalogue raisonné of the paintings of Joseph Wright of Derby, the organization of a series of annual conferences on the history of the British art trade, organizing and running PMC workshops and public lecture courses, teaching on the Centre’s Yale in London undergraduate courses, and chairing and introducing research events at the Centre. Prior to his present appointment in October 2021, Martin was Deputy Director for Grants and Publications at the Centre. Between 1998 and 2007 he worked at Tate as Senior Curator and Head of British Art to 1900.
Martin holds a PhD from Birkbeck College, University of London, an MA in British Romantic Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, and a BA in Art History with History from the University of Nottingham. He is a Fellow of Society of Antiquaries, Trustee of Strawberry Hill House, The William Hogarth Trust, The Walpole Society, the De Laszlo Archive Trust, and Council member of the Attingham Trust. His research interests focus principally on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British Art, including portraiture, landscape, the history of art academies, and art in the country house.
Martin’s many publications include Sir Joshua Reynolds: The Subject Pictures (Cambridge University Press 1995), Gainsborough (Tate and Princeton University Press 2002), and, with David Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds: A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings (Yale University Press 2000). Among the exhibitions he has curated and co-curated are The Artist's Model: Its role in British Art from Lely to Etty (Kenwood and Nottingham 1991), Angels and Urchins: The Fancy Picture in 18th-Century British Art (Kenwood and Nottingham 1998), The Artist's Model: From Etty to Spencer (Kenwood, Nottingham and York 1999), Art of the Garden: The Garden in British Art, 1800 to the Present Day (Tate Britain, Belfast and Manchester 2004), Joshua Reynolds: The Creation of Celebrity (Tate Britain and Palazzo dei Diamanti, Ferrara 2005), Stanley Spencer and the English Garden (Compton Verney 2011), Johan Zoffany, RA: Society Observed (Yale Center for British Art and the Royal Academy of Arts, London 2011–2012), Richard Wilson and the Transformation of European Landscape Painting (Yale Center for British Art and the National Museum Wales, Cardiff 2014), George Stubbs: "All done from Nature" (MK Gallery, Milton Keynes and the Mauritshius, The Hague 2019–2020). Martin was commissioning editor and contributor to the major PMC research project, Art and the Country House, published online by the Centre in November 2020.
28 May 2020
Walking the Streets: William Hogarth’s The Four Times of Day (1736–1738)
11 Jun 2020
All Done from Nature: George Stubbs’s Whistlejacket (1762)
18 Jun 2020
The Artist as Intellectual: Joshua Reynolds’s Self-Portrait as President of the Royal Academy (1780)
25 Jun 2020
Displaying the Hero: John Singleton Copley’s The Death of Major Peirson (1784)
02 Jul 2020
Making an Impact: Thomas Lawrence’s Arthur Atherley (1792)
09 Jul 2020
Georgian Provocations: A Conversation