Art Lectures (available in English or French)


ARTISTS

Crazy about color: Van Gogh in France.
Between 1886 and 1890, Vincent Van Gogh moved to France. In these five years which marked the end of his life, he feverishly painted one of the most thrilling body of work of the history of art, while also falling into insanity.
We will tell this unique story of a man carried by an incredible interior force towards creation.

Matisse, Picasso, Chagall: call of the sun on the Cote d'Azur
Before and after WW2, the cote d'Azur, the French Riviera, became the home of famous artists: Matisse, Picasso, Chagall among many others, were attracted to its mellow climate and the vivid colors of the Mediterranean coast, and spent there their last years. They created joyful works, while influencing forever a cultural life that still speaks to our hearts today.

Eugene Delacroix: Orientalism and Revolutions
Portrait of the artist as a young romantic: After the Napoleonic odyssey, France went into social and political turmoil, while also carving an empire. Delacroix was an energetic idealist who accompanied -and led many- of the changes of his time while creating a unique body of work, full of raw energy.

Degas.
An eccentric Genius who became one of the best Impressionists while never fully being one

Jean Nouvel and the new French architecture
One of the starchitects of the world, Pritzker price Jean Nouvel reinvents himself on every project since 1970. Influenced by cinema, art or science, his buildings show a unique approach to context. He influenced a new generation of architects.

Toulouse Lautrec: La belle et la bete.
In the midst of the industrial revolution, life can be both the hardest and the most refined. Lautrec debunks the cult of feminine beauty of the Belle Epoque. We ll look at the reality and the myth.

The invention of Light: Claude Monet and the impressionists
The impressionists have reinvented how we see nature. We will examine how it happened, why it was so important and, through a few paintings, the unravelling that led Monet and his followers to change the course of Art

Paul Gauguin.
The inextiguishible call of Freedom, in art and in life

Napoleon and David, the Artistic Odyssey
Conquests and Arts of two geniuses at work together to build their mutual glory, and change history.

New French design: Philippe Starck, and the others
How do you design a juicer, a plastic chair, a yacht? Starck has an answer: just reinvent the concept for each project. His bigger than life personality and success opened the door to young French designers who embrace new materials and ideas

Auguste Rodin
Michelangelo and Rodin are still today the reference of sculptors all over the world. How do you create such a legacy?

Edward Hopper in Paris, an American artist follows, and then breaks tradition
A young painter makes his Grand Tour to the artistic capital of the world, but unlike previous others, he will outgrow it, building on what he saw to become one of the greatest American painters of the 20th century. What did he see there by the way?

Le Douanier Rousseau. Painting from the Heart
You do not need formal artistic training if you paint from real feelings thought this Customs officer. Today his works hang in the greatest museums and his unique style influenced generations of the Avant-Garde artists as well as the Peintres du Dimanche

 

PLACES

The Palace of Versailles: Order on the edge of chaos
Versailles was the noblest and most famous palace in the world. We ll examine how and why it was created, and what life there was for the one hundred years before the French Revolution 

Le Mont Saint Michel: 800 years in the making
After 709AD, monks and villagers started building an abbey on the sea. Stone by stone, among wars and regime changes, through Romanesque, then Gothic and Baroque styles, they elevated one of the best recognized monuments in the world

The Musée d'Orsay: 
The beautiful museum that explains a century of ideas and Art

Marseille
Loved and loathed, the oldest city in France has been a hotspot for creation, joie de vivre and for the Maffia since 200BC

Les plus beaux villages de France
France receives 70 millions tourists every year. Not all go to Paris, many head to typical villages of Normandy, Burgundy, Alsace, Provence...each with its different style, its tradition, geology, climate and sense of harmony.

the Impressionists in Normandy
One of the most celebrated regions of France was also the birthplace of one of the most famous artistic movements in history. That was not mere chance

Amelie!
Montmartre: The myth and the reality behind the Moulin Rouge

Vaux le Vicomte, a rival of Versailles
A visionary redefined
style for two centuries and caused his own demise

St Germain 1950s: Sartre, Cubism and Jazz music
After five years of war, an explosion of life and creativity mixing European and American culture happens in Paris

Loire Valley Chateaux: Leisure and pleasure
At the end of the Middle-Ages, the kings of France re-invent an Art de Vivre for the elite not seen in Europe since Roman times on the banks of the Loire Valley.

Bordeaux, a provincial town open to the world
The birthplace of the most famous French wines is also a beautiful and very special city

The Beauty and attraction of Nice.
A beautiful site and rich history of people and drama concurred to make the most Italian city of France a favorite of royalty and visitors. Once you see it, you will always remember Nice and keep it in your heart.

 Rouen, Joan of Arc, Flaubert and the Norman conquest
Not just the impressionists, the capital of the Normandy duchy has also played a major role in the history of Europe

HISTORY

Pillars of light: Chartres and the Gothic cathedral
The Gothic cathedral is a major achievement of Western Art, and Chartres one of its finest examples.
It seems supernatural, and yet was created by a few generations of men, pushed by the highest vision and
ingeniosity.
We examine principles of its architecture, sculpture and glass work, and the conditions that allowed that masterpiece to rise.

The French Renaissance. How to become the center of the world:  

In the 16th century France decided to take over as the cultural center of the world. How did it succeed?

Haussmann and Paris: the birth of the modern city
In the beginning of the19th century Paris was falling into desherence. We examine how in twenty years the decisive action of two men, NapoleonIII and Eugene Haussmann have changed this course to bring a whole city into modernity and made it for a century the cultural center of the world.

Faith in stone: the Romanesque Abbeys from Provence
12th century Provence underwent the construction of the Three Sisters, three beautiful cistercian abbeys of a sober aesthetic which emphasize volume, light, and fine masonry in a marvelous setting. We will examine the functioning of the network of abbeys, the day to day life and the importance they had in diffusing knowledge in medieval Europe.

The Louis, two centuries of architecture and styles, Louis 13,14,15,16
Yes it is good to be the king! Now learn how not to mix your Louis

Gustave Eiffel: Art in the Industrial Revolution
The Eiffel tower is one of the most recognizable monuments in the world, but at the time of the industrial revolution it was also an unmatched feat of engineering, heralding societal change. We will examine its construction, and also others such as the Statue of Liberty or the Panama Canal and examine how Eiffel was a visionary designer.

Les riches heures du Duc de Berry: Life in the Middle-Ages
The most beautiful illuminations of the Middle-Ages, this 15th century
book of hours gives us a window on dayly life in a misunderstood period. How was people life, what did they think about Art, Spirituality and life, were they different or like us?

Les Grands travaux de Mitterand, a French tradition of city planning
Love it or hate it, State intervention has been a way of improving French cities since Louis the 14th. Never was it more obvious in recent history than under President Francois Mitterand's “Grand travaux” in Paris, undertook at the time of Ronald Reagan

Paris, Capital of the 19th century.
Events and policies that shaped the most important city of its time in the century when it was the center of the world

Revolution!  
Why and how Art and politics changed forever around the French Revolution

Paris World Fairs, the Eiffel tower and more: At the end of the 19th century Paris world fairs were a showcase of industry, culture and all the discoveries of the modernity

WW1 and art. Death, Struggle and Renewal:
Exactly a hundred years ago, the US joined one of the most gruesome fights in human history that also changed forever Western civilization, and art. It ended an era and laid the bases for Modernity

CULTURE

Heaven on Earth, the Art of Classical French gardens
In the 17th century, Andre Le Notre drew on a long tradition of European gardens to create the jardins a la Francaise. His lifelong search for an balance between baroque and classicism, Nature and Order, Liberty and Despotism was fruitful, the gardens of Versailles still gives us a universal sense of equilibrium. It also had a strong influence on American history.

Josephine Baker: an American conquers the heart of Paris
After WW1 Paris was enthralled in all things American and the youthful ambition of a true young lady.

Lascaux and Prehistoric Art:
The dawn of abstract thinking, the birth of Art

Art deco: Old world meets new world
Before WW2, Art becomes global, led by transport. Mixing individual comfort and search for beauty, Art Deco spreads from Paris to all corners of world, creating crafts and arts whose quality is unmatched, and still influences modernity today.

Trains in France:  
Stations, Design, Movement, and how transportation can change the organization of a Country.

Art nouveau: Arts and crafts movement in Europe.
At the end of the 19th century, France, as well as England and Germany, face a renewal of Arts and techniques led by the industrial revolution that hinge tradition into modernity. We ll compare these movements and appreciate the beautiful objects they created.

Geniuses in Paris: Picasso, Dali and "friends"
In the roaring 20s, political turmoil in Europe and the appeal of a new modernity attract all ambitious painters to Paris. They will create cubism, surrealism, and many other -isms. We ll examine the influences that led these two most famous Spaniards to revolutionize painting.

Midnight in Paris: Bohemian artists' attraction
Between WW1 and WW2, Paris is the unchallenged center of creation and attracts the best artists, as in the Woody Allen movie. We ll see why they came, their life, and how in a few years they cross-influenced each other to c
reate our modernity.

Paths of Faith
Walking the Camino de Compostella and Vezelay from the Middle-Ages to Today

Photography: 
Niepce, Daguerre and the revolution of the Images that happened suddenly in France and the US

Hergé and Tintin: the most famous comic book in the world: A paper hero who explains much of the history of the 20th century

Asterix, the spirit of Frenchness
The most popular comic book in France tells us a lot on how the French
see themselves and the world

Charlie Hebdo
Je suis Charlie became a rally cry for freedom of thought after the 2015 attack, but Charlie had been around for 40years and is part of a
a much older tradition of satirical political caricature in French culture

Chartres and the Gothic,
Alliance Francaise of
Denver
2
13