John Walsh Lecture Series

Over the last several years, the Gallery has organized a number of semester-long lecture series in collaboration with John Walsh, B.A. 1961, Director Emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Focused on close-looking and important paintings on view at the Gallery, lectures have ranged from narrative painting throughout history to Dutch art, in which Walsh is a specialist. These popular courses, delivered by John Walsh and other leading scholars, are free and open to the public.

Past Lecture Series

Adam Pijnacker, Mediterranean Harbor (detail), ca. 1650. Oil on panel. Lent by the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection

Much of the wealth accumulated by the Dutch during the Golden Age, which spanned the 17th century, came from trade. As Daniel Defoe, the author of Robinson Crusoe, wrote, “The Dutch are the carryers of the World, the middle persons in Trade … and the greatest part of their vast commerce consists in being supply’d from all parts of the World, that they may supply all the World again.” Dutch ships returned to Europe with goods from Africa, the Americas, the Baltic states, India, and maritime Southeast Asia, bringing with them an abundance of discoveries—including the arts of exotic cultures as well as natural curiosities of all kinds. The six lectures in this series, given by five leading scholars, explore aspects of cultural exchange that were made possible by worldwide Dutch commerce. The series celebrates the loan of paintings to the Gallery from the collection of Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo. Lectures begin on Friday, March 31, at 1:30 pm.

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Past Lecture Series

Rembrandt Today: Six Lectures by John Walsh

No Dutch artist produced a larger number of important works than Rembrandt van Rijn, and none has provoked more debate among art historians. In this series of six lectures, John Walsh, B.A. 1961, Director Emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Museum, in Los Angeles, presents an overview of Rembrandt’s career. Each lecture explores a single picture, first focusing on its details, then on its context. The series is prompted by the yearlong loan by Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo of Rembrandt’s Portrait of Aeltje Uylenburgh.

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Generously sponsored by the Martin A. Ryerson Fund.

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Past Lecture Series

Views on Dutch Painting of the Golden Age

In fall 2015 and spring 2016, the second year of a three-year loan of Dutch paintings from the superb collection of Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo brought seventeen new pictures to the Gallery, in addition to seventeen that remain on view from the first installation. They suggest many topics for exploration, such as what the clothes and manners of the people in paintings say about them; the glories of their gardens and what painters intended by picturing them; the importation of expensive rarities like lemons and what it says about Dutch society; and more. In this lecture series, presented from September 2015 through March 2016, nine leading scholars in the field of Dutch art spoke about these and other subjects. Three lectures were given by John Walsh, a specialist in Dutch paintings. Generously sponsored by the Martin A. Ryerson Fund.

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Past Lecture Series

A History of Dutch Painting in Six Pictures

In spring 2015 John Walsh, a specialist in Dutch paintings, offered a series of six lectures that explored the art of the Dutch Republic during its extraordinary flowering in the 17th century. By focusing on a single work each week and examining its artistic, intellectual, and political contexts, the audience became familiar with six great paintings and the artists who made them. Three of the works were on view at the Gallery and the others are in Dutch museums. Walsh examined the artists’ intentions, the role of competition in the art market, and the development of styles. The lecture series was free and open to the public, and it coincided with the loan of thirty important Dutch and Flemish paintings to the Gallery from the collection of Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo.

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Past Lecture Series

Let This Be a Lesson: Heroes, Heroines, and Narrative in Paintings at Yale

In fall 2013 John Walsh presented a popular semester-long public lecture series that took a close look at eleven important paintings from Yale’s art museums that represent scenes from history, myth, scripture, or literature. The lectures traced the tradition of “history painting”—the category to which all of these works belong—from the Renaissance on through its rise to official dominance, its fall from privilege in the eras of Realism in the 19th century and abstract art in the 20th, and its reappearances in the 21st.

Nearly 3,500 visitors attended the lectures, and the online videos were watched over 40,000 times. Click below to learn more or to watch the lecture videos.

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About John Walsh

John Walsh, B.A. 1961, is Director Emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. He was a paintings curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He received a Ph.D. from Columbia University. He has taught courses on the history of art at Columbia and Harvard University, and he is currently a visiting professor in the Department of the History of Art at Yale University.

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