This year’s Visiting Fellow is Prof. Dr. Richard Thomson, Watson Gordon Professor of Fine Art at Edinburgh College of Art (University of Edinburgh). Professor Thomson is the author of numerous books and articles on the history of nineteenth-century French art, including The Troubled Republic. Visual Culture and Social Debate in France, 1889–1900 (2004) and Art of the Actual. Naturalism and Style in Early Third Republic France, 1880-1900 (2012). He has curated numerous exhibitions, among them Splendour and Misery. Pictures of Prostitution, 1850-1910, currently on view at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and travelling to the Van Gogh Museum in the spring of 2016. He is currently working on an exhibition around Georges Seurat's great painting Parade de cirque, which will be staged at the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 2017.
This year’s seminar will focus on the representation of “low life” in nineteenth-century French art and the meanings such images carried with them. How did artists deal with the new underbelly of Paris, so much a part of Baudelaire’s modernité? What stylistic means did they employ, and how might these be interpreted in the light of the social and political circumstances of the time?
The seminar will consist of three sessions of three hours each, plus an afternoon excursion. A public introductory lecture will take place at the Van Gogh Museum on Sunday, 5 June. The seminar meetings will take place at the Van Gogh Museum (exact days and location to be announced), from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Date and time of the excursion to be announced before the start of the seminar.