Denise M Taylor

Writing Consultant I Editor I Proofreader I Teacher

The University of Melbourne and National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Melbourne, have organised an international conference, Human Kind: Transforming Identity in British and Australian Portraits 1700-1914, which will start next Thursday, 8 September, and run for four days, finishing on Sunday 11 September with a panel discussion and debate from 6.15pm to 7.00pm. As the title suggests, the focus will be on British and Australian portraits between 1700 and 1914, both as separate fields and as overlapping or comparative studies.

The Met Museum in New York defines a portrait as “a representation of a specific individual, such as the artist might meet in life. A portrait does not merely record someone’s features, however, but says something about who he or she is, offering a vivid sense of a real person’s presence.” In many ways, the portrait invents new possibilities for defining ‘human kind’.

Inspired by the outstanding portrait collection of the NGV, this interdisciplinary conference will draw together an impressive body of international and Australian scholars to focus on, and debate, the genre of portraiture. This is a unique opportunity to explore both British and Australian portraits through a dynamic interchange between academics and curators. The portraits under discussion derive from a rich variety of international collections, with a particular focus on the portraits of the NGV.

There will be:

Book Launch

Thursday 8 September: 2.00-3.00 pm

The Legacies of Bernard Smith: Essays on Australian Art, History and Cultural Politics

Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne

Speaker: Professor Rex Butler, Monash University

With more than twenty contributing authors, this significant work examines the immense contribution that Bernard Smith has made to Australian art history, museology, Pacific art studies, Australian studies and Indigenous art.

 

International Keynote speakers

Thursday 8 September, 6.00 pm Keynote Lecture

Clemenger Theatre, National Gallery of Victoria (International)

David H. Solkin FBA (Walter H Annenberg Professor of the History of Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art)

 ‘English or European?  Portraiture and the Politics of National Identity in Early Georgian Britain’

 

Friday 9 September, 6.30 pm Keynote Lecture

 Clemenger Theatre, National Gallery of Victoria (International)

Dr Kate Retford (Senior Lecturer, Department of History of Art, Birkbeck, University of London)

‘Conversing in and with the Landscape: Edward Haytley’s portraits of The Brockman Family at Beachborough’

 

Saturday 10 September, 6.00 pm Keynote Lecture

 Clemenger Theatre, National Gallery of Victoria (International)

Martin Myrone (Lead Curator, Pre-1800 British Art, Tate Britain, London)

 ‘Portrait and Autograph: Art and Identity in the Age of Reform, c.1820-40’

 

Three samples of the 20 sessions:

Saturday 10 September

University of Melbourne, Arts West

 9.30-11.00 am:  Literary Portraits

 Clara Tuite, University of Melbourne, Dandy Kind: The D’Orsay-Byron Silhouette

Julian North, University of Leicester, Portraits for the People: Dickens’s Image and the Democratisation of Portraiture in Nineteenth-Century Print Culture

Jack Tan, University of Melbourne, Portraits of Oliver Twist – memorialising the homeless Victorian-era boy

3.30-5.00 pm: Artists and Sitters

 Mark Ledbury, University of Sydney, James Northcote’s portrait of William Godwin

 Georgina Cole, National Art School, Canberra, Blind justice: identity and allegory in Nathaniel Hone’s portraits of Sir John Fielding

Vivien Gaston, University of Melbourne and National Gallery of Victoria, Zoffany’s portrait of Elizabeth Farren c.1780

Johan Zoffany, ‘Elizabeth Farren as Hermione in The Winter's Tale’, c. 1780, oil on canvas, 243.3 × 166.0 cm irreg. (image) 244.2 × 166.7 cm irreg. (canvas), NGV, Melbourne

Johan Zoffany, ‘Elizabeth Farren as Hermione in The Winter’s Tale’, c. 1780, oil on canvas, 243.3 × 166.0 cm irreg. (image) 244.2 × 166.7 cm irreg. (canvas), NGV, Melbourne

Another session  sample:

Sunday 11 September

University of Melbourne, Arts West

2.30-4.00pm: Hugh Ramsay

Patricia Fullerton, Independent scholar, Hugh Ramsay: a young colonial artist in Paris and London

Arabella Teniswood-Harvey, University of Tasmania, The artist’s piano in Hugh Ramsay’s Parisian Self-portraits

Jenny Beatriz Quijano Martinez, University of Melbourne, Copying the Spanish master Velázquez

Hugh Ramsay, ‘Portrait of the artist standing before easel’, 1901-1902, oil on canvas, 128.0 × 86.4 cm, NGV, Melbourne

Hugh Ramsay, ‘Portrait of the artist standing before easel’, 1901-1902, oil on canvas, 128.0 × 86.4 cm, NGV, Melbourne

The full program is available here.

Registration is available here.

 

 

Featured image at the top: Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, detail of ‘Self Portrait in a Straw Hat’, after 1782, oil on canvas, 978 x 705mm, The National Gallery, London.

 

Categories: Musings on Art

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