Arts in Andelucia

...and "From Russia with Love"
I can hardly believe it is three years since I was first invited at very short notice to take my lecture on Vincent van Gogh to the Costa del Sol for the Arts Society. Since then I have continued to be astounded at the invitations from all around the world to share my passion for topics that range from the cotton mills of 19th century Manchester to the mansions of New York in the Gilded Age. This week’s trip to Andalucia was a special treat, a lovely opportunity to renew old acquaintances and establish new ones too. What with the Coronavirus hitting the headlines, I was a little apprehensive that audiences might be down, but I needn’t have feared. My lectures on Monet’s gardens and Russian art drew in large crowds of both regular members and visitors alike, and were received with great enthusiasm in every venue. Both topics lend themselves to some colourful word painting , which seems to be going down just as well as the pictures themselves!
The expat community down in southern Spain is very broadly based, but mainly retirees from Lancashire to Scandinavia with a few American and German friends for good measure. It makes for a really stimulating mix both at question time and during the delightful post lecture dinners. It is amazing how with a little vino one seems to become fluent again, in whatever language the conversation begins!
Needless to say I am already looking forward to my return in 2021, when I’ll be comparing the extraordinary talents of John Singer Sargent and the forgotten genius of Sweden’s master painter, Anders Zorn. Roll on 2021!

For those readers interested in exploring my favourite Russian artists a little more, here’s my hit parade:
Vasily Perov
Valentin Serov
Ilya Repin
Isaak Levitan
Abram Arkhipov
Alexei Savrasov
Ivan Shishkin
Konstantin Kryzhitsky
Arkhip Kuinzhi
Vasily Polenov
Valentin Serov
Aivan Aivazovsky
Ivan Kramskoi