The Fabergé Obsession: Romance, Revolution, and Russian Decorative Arts

Why are so many people fascinated with Fabergé’s creations and the last days of the Russian empire? The imperial eggs are worth millions and the craftsmanship of Fabergé’s creations is remarkable, but perhaps the stories of opulence, revolution, and death associated with these works are the hooks that best catch our interest. This PowerPoint talk…

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A Beautifully Broken Virginia

Come experience a unique photographic journey through the beautifully decaying rural places within our state with which so many Virginians have become fascinated. Photographer John Plashal has commemorated these abandoned gems by capturing their beauty and delivering them to you in a presentation full of powerful imagery and emotional stories. Experience the “unseen” side of…

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Art of the First Cities: Worship and Warfare in the art of the ancient Sumerians

History begins with the cities of ancient Sumer, in southern Iraq; it is here that writing was first invented.  But this first writing was used almost exclusively to record financial transactions; and so the visual arts, developed into a disciplined system to promote the power of the rulers of early Mesopotamia, give us access to…

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Love in the art of the ancient régime (or Love in the Art of 18th Century France)

Soon after ascending the throne at age 13, King Louis XV of France decided to abandon governance in favor of a life of sensual pleasures, to be enjoyed with his wife, mistresses official and unofficial, and countless encounters with young adventuresses brought to him from many parts of his country.  The formalities and complexities of…

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Passion and Violence in a Most Unassuming Art: The Wonders of Greek Vase Painting

We see Greek vases standing in quiet dignity in museum galleries, their lovely shapes designed for service and display.  But more than any other art form, the decorations on them give us a most vivid insight into the lives and character of the ancient Greeks.  Painted with the greatest artistry, often by artists who signed…

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From Photographs to Fabric Patterns

Biology, art and activism merge in this presentation.  Dawn Flores, Creative Director for The Forest Project, tells the story of how she collaborated with other artists to document a 60-acre urban forest clear-cut for development.  Dawn has created over 1,000 fabric patterns from photographs she took, of the now clear-cut property, and works with quiltmakers…

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Depictions of the American Landscape

Although activists often pinpoint its genesis in the 1960s, the environmental movement in the United States has roots in 19th-century American landscape painting. Beginning with the Hudson River School, artists, predominately painters, have depicted the environment as an allusion to such disparate ideologies as manifest destiny, environmental concerns, gendered places, or literary devices. Looking at…

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