Saturday, March 12, 2016

Talks on "Dreams, Magic and Desire" at The Met

Above: The Silver Tiara
Fernand Khnopff (1911)
The Museum of Modern Art

Below: Self-portrait, Fernand Khnopff (1879)
Willems Collection, Brussels

On Thursday, the Metropolitan Museum of Art presented a talk by Alison Hokanson (Assistant Curator, European Paintings) on Symbolism with a focus on the work of Belgian painter Fernand Khnopff. In discussing the broad and enigmatic Symbolist movement, with its concern with "desire, the unconscious, human mortality, timelessness and the inner self," Hokanson acknowledged that it had long been dismissed by most art scholars as "an artistic dead end, not sufficiently sophisticated or forward-thinking."  Now that assessment is under revision. A prime example of this new consideration: The Met's own recent acquisition of Hortensia, an interior innovative, for its time, in Khnopff's confident experimentation with perspective and foregrounding.

Fernand Khnopff's Hortensia (1884)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Hokanson is a clear, illuminating presenter, and if you missed this first talk from her Dreams, Magic and Desire series, I highly recommend catching the second--"The British Invasion"--on Thursday, March 17 (11am-Noon).
Taking as a starting point the Met’s masterpiece The Love Song by Edward Burne-Jones, this talk highlights the appeal that the work of the Pre-Raphaelites in England had for the Symbolist generation in Northern and Central Europe. From Brussels to Munich and Vienna, artists drew on British models to develop modern styles that differed radically from the French trends that dominated the art world. Their work, as one critic put it, “rendered the profundity of life and a melancholy attitude of beauty.”
Click here for ticket information.

The Grace Rainy Rogers Auditorium at
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
82nd Street and Fifth Avenue
(visitor information including map and directions)

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