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London Sunday 3-15

Page history last edited by Eric Leonidas 5 months, 2 weeks ago


Morning: walking tour of theatrical spaces


Today we'll take a walk to explore the sites of several different types of theatrical spaces, including a "boys" company, an indoor playhouse in the "liberties," and a pre-Globe public playouse.


Agas Map:



The Walk:


Shakespearean London Theatres (SHaLT), Walk #3



Sites on the tour:


St. Paul’s:









Afternoon at the National Gallery


The National Gallery is London's premiere museum for international fine art--kind of like the Metropolitan in NY or the Smithsonian in DC.


1. We’ll view the following paintings together

  • Man of Sorrows, 1385, Bonomo (Gallery A)
  • The Ambassadors, Hans Holbein the Younger, 1553 (Room 4)
  • Madonna of the Pinks, Raphael, 1506-7 (Room 2)
  • Supper at Emmaus, Caravaggio, 1601 (Room 32)
  • Venus and Mars, Botticelli, 1485 (Room 58)
  • Equestrian Portrait of Charles I, Van Dyck 1637-38 (not on display; take a look online)


2. I’d like you to look at the following on your own:

  • Erasmus, Hans Holbein, 1523 (Room 4)

Erasmus was a revered scholar, both in his native Netherlands and in England, where he taught at Cambridge. What seems to be the attitude of the painter toward this subject, and perhaps to learning in general? In addition to Erasmus himself, are any of the background details helpful in conveying an impression about knowledge and scholarship?


  • Samson and Delilah, 1609-10 Rubens (Room 18)

You may know the story: Samson, great champion of the Nazirites, falls in love with a beautiful woman who comes from his great enemy, the Philistines. Delilah convinces Samson to reveal the secret of his strength (his long hair) and then betrays him by cutting it. Afterward, Samson is easily captured, blinded, and imprisoned in Gaza. What does the painting seem to say about the episode? What is its attitude toward male strength and heroism, and toward female sexuality? Does the seemingly clear moral of the story conflict with the lush colors and dreaminess of the whole scene?


  • Veronese, Rape of Europa, 1570 (Room 9, but possibly not up; if not, see Reni's version in Room 32)

In Greek and Roman mythology, Europa was a princess who was desired by Zeus. He transformed himself in to a white bull and carried her off. What does the painting seem to say about male attitudes toward women, or male power in general? How would you characterize Europa’s expression as her handmaidens help her onto the bull?


  • Vermeer, A Young Woman Standing at a Virginal (Room 16)

Well she's looking right at us! What do you think she's thinking? Does she seem to be concentrating on her music? The picture behind her is cupid, the god of "love" (really, erotic desire). That's lead to some speculation about whom she might be waiting for, or more broadly what it means to be a young well-off girl in the 17th century. What are her prospects in her society? What are the expectations on such a person? What's your reading of her?


3. Explore a little further paintings from the 1500s and 1600s.

How are the gods of classical Rome and Greece portrayed?

Do you see any common issues or perspectives in religious paintings?

What are painters trying to express about “ordinary” women and men, whether in portraits or domestic scenes?


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