The Fitzwilliam Museum Podcasts
Is beauty irrelevant in public art?- Q&A podcast
In March 2013 the Fitzwilliam Museum hosted a panel discussion asking the question "Is beauty irrelevant in public art?". The discussion featured talks given by Helaine Blumenfeld, sculptor, Jonathan Jones, arts critic for The Guardian and Richard Cork, arts critic. The discussion was followed by a Q&A session recorded for this podcast.
Published: 15 Jul 2014
Is beauty irrelevant in public art?
In March 2013 the Fitzwilliam Museum hosted a panel discussion asking the question "Is beauty irrelevant in public art?". The discussion featured talks given by Helaine Blumenfeld, sculptor, Jonathan Jones, arts critic for The Guardian and Richard Cork, arts critic. The discussion was followed by a Q&A.
Published: 15 Jul 2014
A personal reflection on John Craxton from his biographer Ian Collins
John Craxton was one of the great British artists of the 20th century. For the majority of his life he painted in Crete, capturing the life and colour of the Mediterranean - as such remained relatively unknown to the British public. His biographer Ian Collins gives a personal reflection on the passions and pastimes of John Craxton and how these were reflected in his work. Exploring two of his works he explains what made Craxton a great modern artist and why we should re-assess his work today. The video overlay of this podcast includes paintings and photographs from the 2014 Fitzwilliam Museum exhibition A world of private mystery: John Craxton, RA (1922-2009).
Published: 15 Apr 2014
Sir David Attenborough gives a personal introduction to the 2014 John Craxton exhibition
Sir David Attenborough gives a personal introduction to the exhibition A world of private mystery: John Craxton, RA (1922-2009) at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Talking about his friendship with the artist, he explains why he thinks Craxton was one of the greatest British painters of the 20th century, and why his art painted in Greece brings to life the incredible iridescent 'champagne' light of the Mediterranean.
Published: 01 Apr 2014
Sir Nicholas Goodison talks about his gifts of art to the Fitzwilliam Museum
Interview with Sir Nicholas Goodison about the gifts of twentieth century art that he and his wife have made to the Fitzwilliam Museum via the Art Fund.
Published: 19 Mar 2014
Edmund de Waal - Material Response
Edmund de Waal explores the ceramics collections at the Fitzwilliam and gives his thoughts on what they inspire.
Published: 29 Nov 2013
Edmund de Waal - On White: Porcelain Stories from the Fitzwilliam
A slideshow trailer of Edmund de Waal's intervention On White: Porcelain Stories from the Fitzwilliam
Published: 29 Nov 2013
Origins of the Afro Comb - Interview with Michael McMillan
Artist and curator Michael McMillan talks about his contemporary art installations on the modern era of black hair culture, history, politics and style.
Published: 27 Sep 2013
Quentin Blake introduces Drawn by Hand
Quentin Blake introduces his 'Drawn by Hand' exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum (12 February - 12 May 2013). Discover how the exhibition came about, learn about his style and technique and hear about four works in focus.
Published: 21 Mar 2013
China's White Gold: Interview with Takeshi Yasuda
An interview with potter, Takeshi Yasuda, whose works feature in the Fitzwilliam Museum's exhibition: 'China’s White Gold: Contemporary porcelain from Jingdezhen' (18 December 2012 – 1 April 2013). Yasuda describes his practice, technique and philosophy on art.
Published: 15 Feb 2013
An interview with Dr Stella Panayotova, Keeper of Manuscripts and Printed Books at The Fitzwilliam Museum, about the first ever exhibition of the Museum's remarkable collection of contemporary calligraphy acquired in 2008.
Published: 16 Nov 2012
Fitzwilliam Sculpture Prom 2012: Interview with Helaine Blumenfeld
An interview with sculptor Helaine Blumenfeld on the importance of public works of art and the difference art in public spaces can make to people's lives.
Published: 14 Aug 2012
The Search for Immortality: Tomb Treasures of Han China
An introduction to the exhibition The Search for Immortality: Tomb Treasures of Han China with Dr Timothy Potts, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Featuring over 350 treasures in jade, gold, silver, bronze and ceramics, The Search for Immortality takes you through the remarkable discoveries of the Royal tombs of Han Dynasty China.
Published: 27 Jun 2012
Vermeer's Women: Secrets and Silence
Curator Betsy Wieseman gives an introduction and highlights for the exhibition Vermeer’s Women: Secrets and Silence at The Fitzwilliam Museum. This podcast features images from the exhibition and footage of The Lacemaker. Visit http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/ for more details about the show.
Published: 21 Nov 2011
Gallery 1 Redisplayed: Refurbishing the 19th-20th Century European Collection at the Fitzwilliam Museum
Hear curator Jane Munro talk about the Museum's mission to refurbish and redisplay one of its most popular galleries, and learn more about three painters featured on its walls: Augustus John, William Nicholson and William Orpen.
Published: 15 Feb 2011
Introducing Epic of the Persian Kings
Exploring exquisite Persian manuscript art inspired by the world’s longest poem: the Shahnameh, or 'Book of Kings'
Published: 14 Sep 2010
Darwin's mother and the miniature: the story behind the Fitzwilliam's portrait of Susannah Wedgwood
Charles Darwin's mother Susannah Wedgwood died when he was just eight, and he could never remember her face - until he discovered a long-hidden portrait of her as a young woman. Hear Darwin's great-great-grandson Randal Keynes explain why finally seeing this miniature of his mother (now in the collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum) was so significant for the great naturalist, and why portraits of loved ones were so important to both the Wedgwood and Darwin families.
Published: 24 Aug 2010
'Painting the Sound of the Sea' - Maggi Hambling: The Wave
What motivates Maggi Hambling to create her huge sea paintings? The artist discusses her exhibition of wave portraits at the Fitzwilliam Museum, and reveals her enduring fascination with the North Sea by her Suffolk home.
Published: 13 May 2010
Behind the scenes of the 2010 Sculpture Promenade
Discover how the grounds of the Fitz were transformed for the second year running by this new display of contemporary sculpture. See behind-the-scenes photos and time-lapse footage showing how the Promenade was installed, and hear interviews with Museum Director Timothy Potts and the sculptor Helaine Blumenfeld, as well as featured sculptors Rob Ward, Angela Conner, Nick Turvey, Ann Christopher and Nick Hornby.
Published: 09 Apr 2010
Rediscovering Greece & Rome
Get an insider's view of the Fitzwilliam Museum's new-look Greek & Roman gallery with curator Lucilla Burn and classics professor Mary Beard, as they discuss what went on behind the scenes of the recent redisplay, and reveal some of the untold histories behind these incredible ancient objects.
Published: 10 Mar 2010
Clouds and Myths: Monotypes by Lino Mannocci
Italian-born contemporary printmaker Lino Mannocci discusses the exhibition 'Clouds and Myths: Monotypes by Lino Mannocci' (9 February - 9 May 2010) - a haunting collection of works exploring the world of myth and its resonance. In this podcast, Mannocci talks about his enduring fascinating with the theme of the Annunication, and takes us behind the scenes of the printmaking process. 'Clouds and Myths' is accompanied by a smaller concurrent exhibition, The Angel and the Virgin: A Brief History of the Annunciation - a selection of 15th-17th century old master prints selected from the Fitzwilliam's collection by Mannocci himself.
Published: 09 Feb 2010
'Who's the Artist?': Open Forum on contemporary sculpture at The Fitzwilliam Museum
When a sculptor employs a studio to produce their work, how does this affect our perception of them as an artist? This Open Forum panel discussion at The Fitzwilliam Museum debates the changing role of the contemporary sculptor, as well as ideas of quality, originality, authorship and authenticity.
Published: 26 Jan 2010
Sargent, Sickert and Spencer
Curator Jane Munro discusses 'Sargent, Sickert and Spencer', a new exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum focusing on three of the most original painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries: John Singer Sargent, Walter Sickert and Stanley Spencer.
Published: 16 Dec 2009
16. Struggle and Strikes: The 'Survival of the Fittest' in Art and Literature
Dame Gillian Beer discusses ideas of poverty, struggle and competition as explored in the painting 'On Strike' (1891), and examines how Darwinian notions of 'the survival of the fittest' also inspired female poets of the time.
Published: 21 Sep 2009
15. Between Apes and Angels: Representing the Darker Implications of Darwinism
Science writer Dr. Marek Kohn discusses the various artistic reactions to the bleaker side of evolutionary thinking, as presented in the exhibition 'Endless Forms'. Is nature a nuturing Earth Mother or a pitiless force? Is mankind on the side of the apes or the angels?
Published: 02 Sep 2009
14. Evolving Images: Race and Popular Darwinism in Nineteenth-Century Photography
Professor Elizabeth Edwards explores how the emerging mass medium of photography engaged with popular Darwinian ideas in the nineteenth century, and how notions of race, 'type' and 'hard science' collided with troubling results.
Published: 03 Aug 2009
13. The Predatory Ape: Sex, Simians and Society in Nineteenth-Century Europe
Dr. Gowan Dawson discusses the intriguing representation - and sexualisation - of apes in the nineteenth century, from pickled specimens on display to an eager public to images of marauding predators – and even lascivious lovers. (Please note: this podcast contains some sexually explicit images.)
Published: 29 Jul 2009
12. From 'Missing Link Mania' to Creationism.com: 150 Years of Popular Darwinism in Europe
Why was the idea of 'the missing link' so wildly popular in the later nineteenth century? And why did Darwin's public image differ so greatly across Europe? Dr. Peter Kjaergaard examines how Darwin's ideas have been communicated and miscommunicated over the past 150 years, from print translations to the internet - and with very different intentions.
Published: 13 Jul 2009
11. Darwin, Design and Christianity: With Professor John Brooke
John Brooke, former Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University, gives his take on the exhibition 'Endless Forms', and discusses the implications of Darwinism for religious accounts of creation and design in the natural world.
Published: 13 Jul 2009
10. The Evolving Body: With Professor Randolph Nesse
Evolutionary physician Professor Randolph Nesse explores the idea of 'Darwin's eye', and discusses what evolution means for our bodies, our emotions and our behaviour - as well as the disturbing implications of this view of the world.
Published: 13 Jul 2009
9. Humankind - A Troubling Future? With Lord Robert May
Lord Robert May, Former President of the Royal Society and UK Government Chief Advisor for Science explores the significance of Darwin and his 'unsolved problems' for the issues facing populations today, and how the nineteenth-century preoccupation with 'where we come from' has given way to a focus on our imminent - and worrying - future as a planet.
Published: 09 Jul 2009
8. Darwin, Hooker and the Venus Flytraps: With Sir Peter Crane
Sir Peter Crane, Former Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, talks about the fascinating friendship between Darwin and the botanist Joseph Hooker. (An audio-only podcast from the 2009 Cambridge Darwin Festival.)
Published: 08 Jul 2009
7. Evolving Philosophy: With Professor Philip Kitcher
Can Darwinian ideas of evolution and adaptation really explain why we are how we are? Philosopher of science Professor Philip Kitcher explores the insights - and pitfalls - that Darwinism can bring to philosophical discussions about human nature and behaviour. (An audio-only podcast from the 2009 Cambridge Darwin Festival.)
Published: 07 Jul 2009
6. A Tour of 'Endless Forms': With Sir Paul Nurse
Nobel Prize-winning biologist and Rockefeller University President Sir Paul Nurse takes a tour of the exhibition 'Endless Forms', introducing his personal highlights from a scientist's perspective. (An audio-only podcast from the 2009 Cambridge Darwin Festival.)
Published: 06 Jul 2009
5. 'Flaunting It' - Sexual Selection and the Art of Courtship
What evolutionary purpose does beauty serve? And why does the idea of 'female mate choice' not hold true when it comes to primates and humans? From peacocks' tails to the kinds of sexual signals we can't even see, evolutionary biologist Professor Tim Clutton-Brock explores Darwin's theory of sexual selection.
Published: 02 Jul 2009
4. Uncovering our Origins: Monkeys, Apes and 'Primitive Man' - and how Darwin got it wrong
The Descent of Man would forever change the way we thought about ourselves and where we come from – but how accurate was Darwin in his ideas about human evolution? Professor Robert Foley, Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies explores how 19th-century society viewed ideas of 'early man', and reveals how far our knowledge has progressed since Darwin sketched his 'evolutionary tree'.
Published: 30 Jun 2009
3. The Roots of a Theory: How Plants Specimens Led a Young Darwin to Discovery
Plant specimens may seem an unlikely starting point for Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection - but, as Professor John Parker investigates in this podcast, the Cambridge botanist John Stevens Henslow proved a crucial mentor for the young naturalist. Find out how Darwin shipped his collections from the Beagle voyage back to Cambridge, and how these almost 200 year-old specimens can today give us a snapshot of long-extinct botanical life.
Published: 24 Jun 2009
2. Darwin in Cambridge: from Christ's College to the Beagle
Dr. John van Wyhe, Director of Darwin Online (darwin-online.org.uk), discusses Darwin's student days at Christ's College, Cambridge in the 1820s, and investigates the young naturalist's developing eye for visual observation - as well as debunking a few persistent Darwin myths. Also featured: how Darwin's rooms were restored and re-opened to the public.
Published: 18 Jun 2009
Darwin and the Arts? Introducing the 'Endless Forms' Podcast Series
Jane Munro, Co-Curator of the 'Endless Forms: Charles Darwin, Natural Science and the Visual Arts' at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (16 June - 4 October 2009) introduces the new podcast series complementing this exhibition, which explores Darwin's influence on 19th-century art. (www.darwinendlessforms.org)
Published: 08 Jun 2009
1. Darwin and the Ancient Earth: Dinosaurs and the 'Deep Past' in the 19th-Century Imagination
Why was the young Darwin's fascination with geology so important for his later work? And why was prehistory so popular in early nineteenth-century Britain? A podcast with Professor Jim Secord, Director of the Darwin Correspondence Project and Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, to complement the exhibition 'Endless Forms' at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (16 June - 4 October 2009).
Published: 05 Jun 2009
Inside the 2009 Fitzwilliam Museum Sculpture Promenade
Go behind the scenes of the 2009 Fitzwilliam Museum Sculpture Promenade, a new installation of contemporary sculpture in the Museum's grounds.
Published: 07 May 2009
Christmas 2008 at The Fitzwilliam Museum
Discover the range of events, family activities and exhibitions on offer this Christmas at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge with this short podcast. Featured in this episode: your last chance to see the spectacular exhibition 'From the Land of the Golden Fleece', which closes 4 January 2009; the great range of Christmas cards, gifts and decorations available in the Fitzwilliam's Courtyard Shop; details of the Museum's trails and activity kits for younger visitors - and more!
Published: 10 Dec 2008
'I Turned it into a Palace': Sir Sydney Cockerell and The Fitzwilliam Museum
Let curator Dr. Stella Panayotova be your guide to the exhibition 'I turned it into a palace': Sir Sydney Cockerell and The Fitzwilliam Museum in this behind-the-scenes introduction to the treasures on display, including the 14th-century Macclesfield Psalter, works by the Pre-Raphaelites, William Blake and Thomas Hardy. This podcast explores the stories behind many of these fascinating artworks, brought together for the first time in celebration of one of the most dynamic periods in the Fitzwilliam's history: the Directorship of Sir Sydney Cockerell from 1908 to 1937. (First Published: 25 Nov 2008)
Published: 20 Nov 2008
Exploring the Modern Art Collection at The Fitzwilliam Museum
An introduction to The Fitzwilliam Museum's exceptional collection of post-war art, presented by art historian graduate and arts broadcaster Miriam Lloyd-Evans. (First Published: 05 Aug 2008)
Published: 21 Oct 2008
'Anglo-Saxon Art in the Round'
An introduction to the exhibition 'Anglo-Saxon Art in the Round' at The Fitzwilliam Museum (23 May - 7 September 2008), which explores the rich inventiveness of early medieval art through the medium of coins and ornamental metalwork. Mark Blackburn, Keeper of Coins and Medals at The Fitzwilliam Museum explores the artistic vibrancy of the Anglo-Saxon era, and provides a illustrated tour of the exhibition's highlights. (First Published: 16 May 2008)
Published: 20 Oct 2008
Museums and Galleries Month 08 in the East of England
This May museums across the East of England are celebrating Museums and Galleries Month (1-31 May 2008) with a special programme of events and activities for all ages throughout the month, many on a Chinese theme. This podcast from The Fitzwilliam Museum explores the various exciting events going on around the region as 'East meets East'. For a complete list of MGM 08 events in the East of England, visit http://www.renaissance-east.org.uk/Events.aspx (First Published: 29 Apr 2008)
Published: 20 Oct 2008
From Reason to Revolution: Art and Society in Eighteenth Century Britain
In this podcast Duncan Robinson, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge provides a personal introduction to the Museum's exhibition 'From Reason to Revolution: Art and Society in Eighteenth Century Britain'. The Director gives a fascinating insight into his own enthusiasm for the Eighteenth Century, before inviting the listener to 'enter the gallery' itself for a guided audio tour around the exhibits, accompanied by a slideshow of images from the exhibition. (First Published: 01 Dec 2007)
Published: 20 Oct 2008
'Art Works': Sessions for Young People at The Fitzwilliam Museum
A look at The Fitzwilliam Museum's 'Art Works' programme for young people aged 14-21. Education Officer Rachel Sinfield and local students discuss 'Source' and 'Head Space', the Museum's art sessions for young people, and discuss the challenge of encouraging younger visitors to museums. For more information on the Museum's sessions for Young People, visit http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/whatson/ (First Published: 22 Apr 2008)
Published: 17 Oct 2008
'On the Shoulders of Giants': Portraits from the University of Cambridge
A behind-the-scenes introduction to The Fitzwilliam Museum's first-ever photographic exhibition, with photographer Howard Guest and curator Duncan Robinson. Several of the sitters for these portraits also discuss their personal experiences of being involved with the exhibition. (First Published: 06 Jun 2008)
Published: 17 Oct 2008
From the Land of the Golden Fleece: Tomb Treasures of Ancient Georgia
A guide to the only UK showing of this remarkable exhibition, at The Fitzwilliam Museum from 2 October 2008 to 4 January 2009. Museum Director Dr Timothy Potts provides a personal introduction to this spectacular collection of 2000 year-old tomb and temple treasures from Ancient Georgia - the land to which the Greek hero Jason is fabled to have led the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece. This podcast looks at highlights from the exhibition, from ancient gold and silver jewellery to bronze sculpture and other magnificent funerary items. (First Published: 10 Oct 2008)
Published: 10 Oct 2008
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