Talks + Lectures

Get tickets on-site, online, or by phone at 804.340.1405.


Book Club: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Thu, Sep 18, 5:30 – 7 pm | Conference Room 1
Set in 19th century China, this novel tells the tale of a girl named Lily, who is paired with a laotong (“old same”) named Snow Flower. A girl’s relationship with her laotong is even more important than her relationship with her husband, and they are expected to be best friends for life. Often forced to communicate in a secret language written on fans, the two girls grow very close, despite their differences and the challenges that face them as they grow up together. When a misunderstanding arises and danger descends upon them, their loyalty to each other is tested. Will their friendship survive? Join Lulan Yu, Adult Programs Coordinator, and Maggie Allbee, VMFA's Reference Librarian, for this look at Chinese art and culture.
$8 (VMFA members $5)


How…do you apply for a VMFA Fellowship?

Fri, Sep 26, 1 – 2 pm | Founder's Conference Room
Established in 1940, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Visual Arts Fellowship Program is a vital source of funding for professional artists, and art and art history students in Virginia. With the application deadline approaching on Friday, November 7 (5 pm), this program informs those interested in a Fellowship about how to apply. Learn more about the Fellowship program.

Free, no registration required


The VMFA Commission: A Conversation with Artist Esther Mahlangu

Thu, Oct 9, 6 – 7 pm | Leslie Cheek Theater
In early September, renowned South African artist Esther Mahlangu will create two large paintings in her distinctive Ndebele style for the VMFA collection. These nine- by fifteen-foot works will provide a dramatic visual gateway to the African art collection displayed in the VMFA Dominion Resources Gallery. In this conversation, museum curator Richard Woodward and artist Esther Mahlangu will discuss the commission and her lifelong experiences as a painter in South Africa and internationally.

$8 (VMFA members $5)


3 in 30: From China to Rome: The Silk Road

Tue, Oct 7, 11 – 11:30 am, or Oct 9, 6:30 – 7 pm | Meet at Visitor Services Desk
The Silk Road was a network of trade routes that connected China in the East and Rome in the West. Join Courtney Morano, School and Family Programs Manager, as she explores objects from rich caravan cities in this journey from East to West and discusses some of the key stops and goods that were traded along the Silk Road. 

In upcoming months, we will offer a series of permanent collection gallery talks inspired by the special exhibition, Forbidden City: Imperial Treasures from the Palace Museum, Beijing, that look at global connections with Chinese art and culture. Visit Talks for more details.
Free, no registration required
These talks do not include admission Forbidden City.


Mary Lynn Kotz Award for Art in Literature

Fri, Oct 17, 6 – 7 pm | Pauley Center Parlor
The Mary Lynn Kotz Award for Art in Literature recognizes an outstanding book that is written primarily in response to a work (or works) of art while also showing the highest literary merit, in and of itself, as a creative or scholarly work. Join us for a lecture by this year's award winner, followed by a wine and cheese reception and a book signing. The award is co-sponsored by the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
$8 (VMFA members $5)


An Imperial Imagination

Thu, Oct 30, 6:30 – 7:30 pm | Leslie Cheek Theater
Join Dr. Nancy Berliner, Wu Tung Curator of Chinese Art, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, for a talk that explores the Forbidden City's Qianlong Garden. Designed inside and out by the Qianlong Emperor, the garden contains 26 buildings and pavilions, and is a thrilling manifestation of this emperor's visual imagination. 

One of the world's greatest art connoisseurs, the 18th century Qianlong Emperor collected a myriad of ancient masterpieces but also relished his privileged opportunity to work with the finest artists and artisans to design and create all manner of inspired objects. With a deep knowledge of Chinese artistic traditions and a hungry interest in European aesthetics and styles, he and his workers produced extraordinary porcelains, trompe-l'oeil murals, and fantastical garden estates, the likes of which had never before been seen in China.

$8 (VMFA members $5)


3 in 30: China and Silver: Content and Form

Tue, Nov 4, 11 – 11:30 am, or Nov 6, 6:30 – 7 pm | Meet at Visitor Services Desk
Discover the details that uncover the Chinese roots of select works from the Gans Collection of English Silver with Join Celeste Fetta, Chief Educator.

In upcoming months, we will offer a series of permanent collection gallery talks ispired by the special exhibition Forbidden City: Imperial Treasures from the Palace Museum, Beijing. Visit Talks for more details.
Free, no registration required
These talks do not include admission to Forbidden City.


Degas/Cassatt: The Art of Collaboration

Thu, Nov 13, 6:30 – 7:30 pm | Leslie Cheek Theater
With Kimberly Jones, Associate Curator of French Paintings at the National Gallery of Art

Edgar Degas’s influence upon Mary Cassatt has long been acknowledged, but in this talk, Kimberly Jones examines the American artist’s role in shaping Degas’s artistic production and her actions to pave the way for his warm reception in America. These two major figures of the impressionist movement shared a keen observer’s eye, as well as an openness to experimentation. Despite differences of gender and nationality, they built a deep friendship based on mutual respect and admiration for each other’s talents. 

 
Free, tickets required


Twelve Views of Virginia

Fri, Nov 14, 3 – 4 pm | Works on Paper Gallery 
We are celebrating the opening weekend of the exhibition Water and Shadow: Kawase Hasui and the Japanese Landscape Prints with several events.

Join Japanese artist Miwako Nishizawa as she discusses her Twelve Views of Virginia print project on display in the VMFA galleries. This multi-year project was commissioned by collectors Rene and Carolyn Balcer and includes images of many notable sites around the State of Virginia, including Monticello in Charlottesville, Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Natural Bridge, and Colonial Williamsburg.
Free, no registration required


Kawase Hasui and the Power of Landscape

Fri, Nov 14, Lecture: 6 – 7 pm, Catalog signing: 7 – 7:30 pm | Leslie Cheek Theater
We are celebrating the opening weekend of the exhibitionWater and Shadow: Kawase Hasui and the Japanese Landscape Prints with several events. 

Why is Hasui so popular? In this this lecture, Dr. Ken Brown, Professor of Asian Art History at California State University, Long Beach, will answer that question as he explores how this artist’s works fulfill fundamental aspects of human interest in landscape. Brown will also look at how Hasui’s dynamic balance of light and darkness, clarity and uncertainty, prospect and refuge connect to our brain’s desire for “moderate complexity” in the physical world.

$8 (VMFA members $5)


Hanako's Teahouse

Sun, Nov 16, 2 – 3 pm | Marble Hall
We are celebrating the opening weekend of the exhibition, Water and Shadow: Kawase Hasui and the Japanese Landscape Prints with several events.

Join us Sunday for special program with artist Hanako Miwa. She will perform tea ceremonies with her special tea objects and her portable Teahouse. The Japanese tea ceremony is a way of communication and a way to appreciate arts while enjoying tea.
Free, no registration required