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Museum talks on Caravaggio's cameras, Van Gogh's paints and more

December 28, 2012|By Jori Finkel
  • From LACMA's "Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio's Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy," circa 1595
From LACMA's "Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio's Saint… (Wadsworth Atheneum Museum…)

Did Caravaggio use optical devices — essentially transforming his studio into a giant camera obscura — to make his paintings?

Pegged to their big exhibitions this winter, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Getty and the Norton Simon have organized a range of talks with guest scholars and scholar-scientists, and a LACMA lecture next week promises to address that question head-on.

Admission to all of the lectures noted below is free, but some museums suggest advance reservations. Please check their websites for details.

Sunday, Jan. 6 at 1 p.m.

Exhibition: "Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and His Legacy" at LACMA

Speaker: Conservation scholar Roberta Lapucci, who wrote the 2005 book "Caravaggio and Optics"

Subject: Carvaggio’s painting techniques

Saturday, Feb. 2 at 4 p.m.

Exhibition: Vincent Van Gogh’s 1889 "Self-Portrait" at the Norton Simon

Speaker: Judy Sund, art historian from the Graduate Center and Queens College, CUNY

Subject: A study of Van Gogh’s self-portraiture as a means of self-definition

Saturday, Feb. 2 at 4 p.m.

Exhibition: "Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance" at the Getty Museum

Speaker: Keith Christiansen, head of European paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Subject: Giotto’s contribution to Italian painting, including his canonical frescoes in Padua

(An all-day $20 symposium on the art and culture of 14th-century Florence, bringing together art historians, musicologists and more, will take place later that week on Feb. 5.)

Saturday, March 2 at 4 p.m.

Show: Vincent van Gogh's 1889 "Self-Portrait" at the Norton Simon

Speaker: Paintings conservator Ann Hoenigswald of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Subject: Van Gogh’s “working technique and selection of materials,” from his choice of brushes to his favorite frames

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