Chinese calligraphy as an art form is life fully experienced through the energy and motion of marks on paper, with time and rhythm in shifting space. The speed, acceleration and deceleration of the writer’s moves and turns give “spirit” to the characters by greatly influencing their final result. It requires the writer to have perfect…Request Program
Speakers on the Arts
Archived Lectures. Some no longer available. Please visit the Statewide Faculty page for up-to-date listings.
VMFA Speakers on the Arts lectures are an excellent complement to programming at partner sites. They can also introduce new areas of art to Partner audiences and enhance community events and celebrations. A wide selection of topics and speakers is available for VMFA Statewide Partners. See Booking Speakers on the Arts for information about requesting a lecture.
Intended & Unintended Meanings of the American Monument
The moment of the unveiling of a public monument marks the end of a process. The need for commemoration was felt, an artist engaged to express the idea, and the means found to bring the project to realization. Whatever the intended meaning, once in the public eye an installation acquires its own history. The interpretation…Request Program
The History of Early Video Games
This presentation discusses the evolution of the video game from the 1960s through the late 1990s, with a focus on Atari and Nintendo.Request Program
In The Round: Sculpture in America
This presentation is designed to create a greater aesthetic understanding and appreciation of sculpture in America. We will delve into sculptural works of art across eras and genres, forms and subject matters, and methods and materials of American sculptors.Request Program
Armchair Travel: How to See England Without Leaving the U.S.
Love to visit England, but hate the jet lag? Then let Executive Director, Anne Kenny-Urban, lead you through a tour of “England in America”. From the comfort of your seat, travel from Connecticut to Nevada in search of English architectural treasures, like Agecroft Hall, that have made the journey from the Old World to the…Request Program
This program explores imperial rituals, court painting, family life, and religion in the Forbidden City, home to 24 of China’s emperors from the Ming (1368-1644) through the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). Utilizing selected objects from the Palace Museum, Beijing, in addition to works from VMFA’s permanent collection, this talk explores the visual and cultural landscape established…Request Program
Congo Masks: Masterpieces from Central Africa
This program will explore the practice of masking as it appears across the vast and culturally diverse Congolese region of Central Africa, where masks function as performance objects, works of art, educational tools, and ritual objects of devotion. Utilizing selected objects from VMFA’s Congo Masks: Masterpieces from Central Africa exhibition, masks will be examined and…Request Program
Spirit Photos, Fairy Photos and the Comfort of Belief
“The series of incidents set forth…represent either the most elaborate and ingenious hoax ever played upon the public, or else they constitute an event in human history which may in future appear to have been epoch-making in its character.” This quote by Arthur Conan Doyle could just as easily apply to the spirit photographs of…Request Program
Pencil and Powder: Combat Artists of the Civil War
“A total disregard for personal safety and comfort; an owl-like propensity to sit up all night; and a hawky style of vigilance during the day.” These were the qualities possessed by the Special Artists of the “Bohemian Brigade.” During the Civil War, the art of photography was still in its infancy. The long exposure times…Request Program
Collecting for the Commonwealth, Preserving for the Nation: A Century of Art Patronage at VMFA
In 1919, John Barton Payne made a gift of artworks to the Commonwealth of Virginia. His vision: a public art museum that could educate and unite a disparate people. A hundred years on, VMFA has emerged a leading repository of great world art. That success is due to the passion and persistence of a century…Request Program