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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.

Encountering Beauty: Ceramic

Today we’ll be hearing about the ancient and enduring craft of ceramics – from the elemental forming and firing of clay that has been advanced by so many civilisations to the ‘white gold’ of porcelain, and the potters and patrons who have dedicated themselves to its mysteries.    I’m delighted to be joined by two London-based specialists in the field: Adrian Sassoon, expert in 18th-century French porcelain and contemporary works of art in ceramic, and by Errol Manners of E. and H. Manners Cera

Encountering Beauty: Bronze

Today we’ll be hearing about why artists have been so drawn to bronze for thousands of years – a material that is notoriously difficult to work with and yet has rarely been out of fashion.   I’m delighted to be joined by Martin Clist, managing director of Charles Ede in London, one of the world’s leading dealerships for works of ancient art from Egypt, Greece and the Roman Empire; and by Peter Osborne, of Osborne Samuel, one of London’s leading dealers in modern British painting and sculpture.

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 kno

Encountering Beauty: Wood

Today we’ll be talking about wood – a material that is in a sense very ordinary but which has been made extraordinary by artists from many different cultures, and for thousands of years. It has been carved and turned, joined and inlaid, polished and painted – and in many cases, its endurance against the odds has lent it a fragile preciousness that only adds to the sense of wonder that it inspires. Featuring Patrick Mestdagh, whose gallery in Brussels presents objects from outside Europe – fro

Encountering Beauty: Marble

Welcome to Encountering Beauty, a series of podcasts brought to you by Masterpiece London, with Thomas Marks, editor of Apollo magazine. These podcasts we’ll be exploring the enduring relevance and resonance of what have long been some of the most revered and versatile materials that artists have had at their disposal.   In this episode we’ll be hearing about the marvels of marble, a material that since antiquity has captured the imaginations of sculptors and architects. Across cultures and ce


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