20 January 2023
Andrew Graham-Dixon lecture
On Thursday 19 January we were delighted to be able to welcome to Sevenoaks School the award winning art historian, author, broadcaster and lecturer: Andrew Graham-Dixon.
We were delighted to welcome the award-winning art historian, author, broadcaster and lecturer Andrew Graham-Dixon to speak at Sevenoaks on Thursday 19 January.
Andrew led an after-school workshop for our Sixth Form IB artists. The students introduced their own artworks, the meaning of which were then explored through discussion. Students artwork included an exploration of ‘uncomfortable spaces’, how movement is portrayed in paintings, triptych painting technique, sculpture work based on how humans shape their environments, the use of splatter ink and material to represent aspects of war, abstract design layer manipulation and slashed paintings representing the antagonism between humans and nature. There was also a Q&A session about studying History of Art at university.
The title of Andrew’s evening lecture was ‘In the Picture.’ In this wide-ranging talk, Andrew played the role of both biographer and detective to discuss the principles and practice of art appreciation from many different corners of the history of art. Andrew told the fascinating story behind some of his favourite paintings. This included the amusing story of Patrick Caulfield’s painting Fish and Sandwich (1984) and its link with The British Embassy in Riyadh and the rather more gruesome story behind Caravaggio’s largest oil painting The Beheading of St John the Baptist (1608). Andrew revealed the hidden meanings behind J.M.W Turner’s The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons (1834) presenting a compelling case that Turner revolutionised not just human understanding of light and reality but also fuelled the subsequent scientific revolution and Andrew discussed how Jasper John’s encaustic, oil and collage painting Flag (1954) took a common object that “the mind already knows” but behind it was a meaning that was profoundly political. This was a fascinating talk perfectly combining high scholarship and intense subject passion.
Andrew Graham-Dixon is one of the leading art critics and presenters of arts television in the English-speaking world. He has presented numerous landmark series on art including for the BBC. He has a long history of public service in the field of visual arts, having judged the Turner Prize, the National Portrait Award and the Annual British Animation Awards. In the course of his career he has won numerous awards for writing and broadcasting.