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ENCOUNTERING BEAUTY THROUGH THE MATERIAL WORLD

Our 2021 programme invites you to uncover and explore the history of art through the world of materials.

Join our guest speakers for podcasts, videos, panel discussions and more, as they focus on a different material each month and unravel its varied interpretations across time, cultures and disciplines.

Curated in response to the limitations of the past year, the programme provides a welcome reminder of the inherent joy that comes from direct connection with works of art.
 

Browse our Past Exhibitor List | Masterpiece Online 2020

Object of the Month: Looking up at the Configuration from Heaven

My name is Tao Wang and I am Pritzker Chair of Asian Art and curator of Chinese Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Three weeks ago, we opened an exhibition “Cosmoscapes: Ink Paintings by Tai Xaingzhou” that includes 13 works by the contemporary Chinese artist Tai Xiangzhou (b.1968). The exhibition runs until September 20, 2021. One of the works is a large painting that consists of four panels (each 100 X 200 cm) painted in Chinese ink on silk, titled “Yang guan chui xiang” or “Looking up at t
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OBJECT OF THE MONTH: DAYDREAMING ABOUT ICE-FISHING

FROM THE ROYAL BANK OF CANADA ART COLLECTION.  Selected by Corrie Jackson, Senior Curator, Royal Bank of Canada, Darcie Bernhardt, Daydreaming about Ice-Fishing, 2019 Oil on canvas 142 cm x 127 cm Darcie Bernhardt’s Daydreaming about ice fishing is a piece whose colour and composition are truly transporting. The abstracted colours are a reminder of not only the dimensional colour and light held in ice and snow, but the crisp lines and patterning remind one of the sounds of stepping across a
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Through the Eyes of the Maker: Teresa Kutala Firmino

Artist Teresa Kutala Firmino discusses the use of pigment in her work, revealing the significance of colour in her narratives and the technical advantages of learning how to 'balance the canvas'.
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Material Visions: Pigment | The Fayum Portraits, c. 2nd century CE

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The Origins of Pigment

Colour is a key component of a work of art, with specific hues selected for their decorative, symbolical or emotive qualities, but the properties and potential of pigments themselves - those ingredients bound together to form coloured paint or glaze - are sometimes overlooked in our age of standardised materials. Our panel illuminates the materiality of pigment from the point of view of the creator, the conservator and the curator.   PANEL DISCUSSION: THE ORIGINS OF PIGMENT Thursday 22nd April,
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Material Visions: Pigment | Woman on a Divan, Berthe Morisot, 1885

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Object of the Month: Still Life with a Cup of Water and a Rose

Selected by Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Director, The National Gallery At the National Gallery, where I am Director, there is an ebb and flow of which works are my favourites. There is an embarrassment of riches of course, but Zurbarán’s Still Life with a Cup of Water and a Rose painted in Seville in the 1630s, often comes to my mind. It is unassuming in size and subject matter but I find it achingly beautiful. It carries with it an aura of profound seriousness and it invites slow looking and reflecti
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Encountering Beauty: Pigment

Today we’ll be talking about pigment and the ingredients of paint – that is, how a range of coloured substances, usually ground into powders and mixed with oil, water or another type of binder, have been the starting point for paintings from prehistoric murals to Pop art and beyond. We’ll be discussing how far an understanding of pigment has been fundamental to the painting of the past, including how certain colours have been valued or venerated – and we’ll explore what contemporary painters kn
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Material Visions: Pigment | Morning, Agnes Martin, 1965

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Object of the Month: Two leaves are part of a sixteenth-century book of hours of the Flemish School

My name is Sue Palmer and I am the Archivist and Head of Library Services at Sir John Soane’s Museum in London. These two leaves are part of a sixteenth-century book of hours of the Flemish School. Working with a collection as eclectic and wide-ranging as that of Sir John Soane (1753-1837) it is almost impossible to select a single favourite object, but this is one which particularly resonates with me. A small volume (measuring 209 x 142 mm) with a red velvet binding with decorative metal corn
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Material Visions: Pigment | Christ’s Entry into Journalism, Kara Walker, 2017

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Through the Eyes of the Maker: Wycliffe Stutchbury

Artist Wycliffe Stutchbury discusses the versatility of different woods and the indelible impression the landscape leaves on each of his artworks. Wycliffe Stutchbury is represented by Masterpiece exhibitor Sarah Myerscough.
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