Forbidden City

This program explores imperial rituals, court painting, family life, and religion in the Forbidden City, home to 24 of China’s emperors from the Ming (1368-1644) through the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). Utilizing selected objects from the Palace Museum, Beijing, in addition to works from VMFA’s permanent collection, this talk explores the visual and cultural landscape established…

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Congo Masks: Masterpieces from Central Africa

This program will explore the practice of masking as it appears across the vast and culturally diverse Congolese region of Central Africa, where masks function as performance objects, works of art, educational tools, and ritual objects of devotion. Utilizing selected objects from VMFA’s Congo Masks: Masterpieces from Central Africa exhibition, masks will be examined and…

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Spirit Photos, Fairy Photos and the Comfort of Belief

“The series of incidents set forth…represent either the most elaborate and ingenious hoax ever played upon the public, or else they constitute an event in human history which may in future appear to have been epoch-making in its character.” This quote by Arthur Conan Doyle could just as easily apply to the spirit photographs of…

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Pencil and Powder: Combat Artists of the Civil War

“A total disregard for personal safety and comfort; an owl-like propensity to sit up all night; and a hawky style of vigilance during the day.” These were the qualities possessed by the Special Artists of the “Bohemian Brigade.” During the Civil War, the art of photography was still in its infancy. The long exposure times…

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