Clark's Victorian Art and Culture Lecture Series to Begin with BSO's Marc Mandel February 25

For Immediate Release

February 15, 2001

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA, (February 15, 2001) - The art, music, and fashion of Victorian England are the subject of a three-lecture series at the Clark Art Institute beginning February 25. The lectures, offered on the fourth Sunday of the month, relate to the current exhibition Rossetti in the 1860s: The Blue Bower. The first lecture will focus on music. Marc Mandel, director of program publications for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, will give the talk "Debussy, Rossetti, and La Damoiselle élue" on Sunday, February 25, at 3:00 p.m. His topic will be the composer Claude Debussy's "La Damoiselle élue," which was inspired by Rossetti's poem "The Blessed Damozel." Admission is free.

Upcoming lectures will be "From Draperies to Dress Reform: Pre-Raphaelite Fashion in Britain" by Edward Maeder of Historic Deerfield on March 25, and "Rossetti: Pre-Raphaelite to Aesthete" by Tim Barringer of Yale University on April 22. The lectures are just some of the programs taking place on Sundays at 3:00 p.m. throughout the exhibition, on view through May 6. Films are screened on the first Sunday of each month. Gallery talks are presented on the second Sunday of the month. The third Sunday of the month brings music or poetry performances. Lectures are offered in the auditorium on the fourth Sunday of the month. The "extra" Sunday in April, April 29, will be a family and children's program. To receive a calendar of events, call 413-458-2303, extension 512.

Rossetti in the 1860s highlights the English painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828--1882), a founding member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (a group of artists dedicated to the apparent simplicity and purity of the early Renaissance). In the 1860s, Rossetti turned from biblical and legendary subjects to half-length portraits of models who epitomized his ideal of female beauty-what he called "stunners." Rossetti's favorite models, who included his wife Elizabeth Siddal and his mistress Fanny Cornforth, shared common traits of long, elegant necks, cupid's-bow mouths, heavy-lidded eyes, and rich, wavy hair. Rossetti depicted these women, usually surrounded by rich fabrics and exotic decoration, in literary and idealized terms, often with an undertone of dangerous sensuality. Rossetti's 1865 masterpiece The Blue Bower is at the center of this exhibition. Selected paintings by Leighton, Whistler, Gustave Courbet, and others are also included. The exhibition is organized by the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, the University of Birmingham, England. The Clark is the only American venue for the exhibition.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free through May.  For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit

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