March 18, 2019

Art History and the Future of the Humanities

Art History and the Future of the Humanities

At a time of increasing concern about the future of the humanities on both sides of the Atlantic, this symposium explored the discipline of art history and its contributions to education and the wider culture. The event featured a roundtable of leading scholars, artists, and curators and a keynote by Dr. Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery London.


1:00 p.m. | Private Gallery Tour (Optional)

2:00 p.m. | Roundtable Discussion 
Dr. Martin Kemp, Oxford University
Daphne Todd, Portrait Artist
Kathleen Soriano, Independent Art Curator
Estelle Thompson, International Contemporary Artist

4:30 p.m. | Afternoon Tea 

5:30 p.m. | Keynote Address by Dr. Gabriele Finaldi, Director, National Gallery London 
Introduction by Dr. Martin Kemp, Oxford University
Discussion chaired by Stephen Farthing RA, Royal Academy of Art

7:00 p.m. | Reception

The symposium was sponsored by Georgetown University’s “Future of the Humanities Project,” a collaboration with the Las Casas Institute at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. 

Dr. Gabriele Finaldi serves as director of the National Gallery, London, where he was a curator from 1992 to 2002 before taking the post of deputy director for collections and research at the Prado in Madrid. His publications include The Image of Christ (2000); Baroque Painting in Genoa (2002) and most recently, as a coauthor, Sorolla: Spanish Masters of Light (2019).

Stephen Farthing RA is a distinguished artist and fellow of the Royal Academy of Art, where he has exhibited his work. He has served as the Ruskin Master at the Ruskin School of Fine Art and is a fellow at St. Edmund’s Hall, Oxford University. Among his well-known books are 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die (2006).

Dr. Martin Kemp, Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at Oxford University, is one of the world’s leading experts on Leonardo da Vinci. He is the author of many books on art history and the relationship of science and art, including The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat (1990) and, most recently, Living with Leonardo (2018).

Kathleen Soriano is a distinguished independent art curator who previously served as director of exhibitions at the Royal Academy. She has also worked at the National Portrait Gallery and directed the Liverpool Biennial, the largest contemporary art festival in the UK. She is currently curating an exhibition of works by Harald Sohlberg at The Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Estelle Thompson is a leading abstract artist known worldwide for her “Fuse Paintings.” Her work is displayed prominently in public galleries and other institutions, including hospitals and universities. She has taught at De Montfort University and Wrexham Glyndwr University and currently teaches at the Slade School of Fine Art in London.

Daphne Todd, a renowned portrait artist, was the first woman to serve as president of the Royal Society of Portrait Artists. HRH the Prince of Wales, Lord Sainsbury, and Spike Milligan are among her subjects and a number of her paintings are exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery, London.  She is also well known as a judge on the BBC’s “The Big Painting Challenge.”