This ongoing series of lectures is based on chapters of my 2021 book CREATION. ART SINCE THE BEGINNING. I am available to give them online or in person; please get in touch via the contacts page.
PART ONE: THE FIRST FORTY THOUSAND YEARS.
First webcast 24th March 2022
ART SINCE THE BEGINNING | 1. THE FIRST FORTY THOUSAND YEARS explores the earliest-known images made by human hands, on cave walls and carved from mammoth tusks, as well as the first stirrings of architecture, the standing stones known as megaliths.
From the extraordinary drawings of animals at the Chauvet cave in France, to the mysteries of the Gobëkli Tepe site in modern Turkey, and to the unique stone circles in Britain and Ireland, the talk will explore how the earliest forms of art and architecture were created, rediscovered and have since been understood, and what they might tell us about our earliest ancestors, and the origins of art itself.
PART TWO: EYES WIDE OPEN. ART OF THE FIRST CITIES
First webcast 14th April 2022
ART SINCE THE BEGINNING | 2. EYES WIDE OPEN: ART OF THE FIRST CITIES looks at some of the key examples of art and architecture from the first civilisations that arose in western Asia in the fourth millennium BC. Tracing the story from the art of the Sumerians, the famous Ziggurat of Ur, through the extraordinary relief carvings of the Assyrians, and the city-building of the Babylonians, this account of the art of the first cities leads to one of the world’s first great empires, that of the Persians, with their great city of Persepolis.
PART THREE: THE LAST HIEROGLYPH. THE ART OF ANCIENT EGYPT AND NORTH AFRICA
ART SINCE THE BEGINNING | 3. THE LAST HIEROGLYPH. THE ART OF ANCIENT EGYPT AND NORTH AFRICA examines the forms of ancient Egyptian art and architecture, setting them in the wider world of ancient North Africa and western Asia. What was the role of the landscape and history of the region in forming the memorable images of Pharaonic Egypt? What role did religion play? Was it really a matter of unbroken continuity for over three thousand years? We will look at some of the famous buildings and sculptures from the Old Dynasty, and also at some more surprising, and perhaps less ‘Egyptian’ looking images. Was there an alternative Egypt, that might have been forgotten, alongside the romantic myth of ancient Egypt?