Artist-as-Monk, Monk-as-Artist

Speakers: James Hall and Lucy Newman Cleeve

As is usual in the Sacred Traditions & the Arts Seminar, there will be two papers, which are intended to open an interdisciplinary as well as a personal dialogue in which the audience will then be invited to join.

This meeting of the seminar coincides with the publication of James Hall’s book, The Artist’s Studio: a Cultural History (Thames and Hudson).

In his talk, James Hall will explore 19th century male artists’ rejection of luxurious ‘feminised’ studios for austere, furniture free spaces that emulate a monk’s cell. In the aftermath of the atheistical French Revolution, artists occupied former religious buildings, thus underpinning the idea that art was the new religion, with artists as priests, sometimes belonging to a ‘brotherhood’ of artists. The studio as monk’s cell went mainstream with Rodin, who had briefly been a lay monk.

Lucy Newman Cleeve will consider the work of Benedictine Monk and Concrete poet Dom Sylvester Houédard and examine the way in which his sense of religious vocation and his theology inspired and informed his artistic practice and vice versa.

James Hall is an art critic and historian, currently Research Professor at the University of Southampton. His many books include The Self-Portrait: A Cultural History (Thames & Hudson, 2014), and his essays have appeared in the Burlington Magazine, Oxford Art Journal and Simiolus.

Lucy Newman Cleeve (MA Cantab, MA RCA) is a curator and consultant with twenty years’ experience across the visual arts and cultural sector. She was the founding director of Man&Eve Gallery (2006-2014) and has curated and programmed more than one hundred exhibitions and events, including for non-traditional venues, and for the public realm. She is currently engaged as Curatorial Consultant to The Faith Museum at The Auckland Project and is undertaking doctoral research at Kings College London alongside ordination training at St Mellitus College.

About the seminar series:

The seminar on Sacred Traditions and the Arts is a joint venture between the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at King’s and The Courtauld. It seeks to place researchers in dialogue who are working on any aspect of the sacred and visual culture. It is open to all scholars and students who have an interest in exploring the intersections of religion and art regardless of period, geography or tradition.

Organised by Dr Scott Nethersole (The Courtauld) and Professor Ben Quash (King’s College London).

This event has passed.

25 Oct 2022

Tuesday 25th October 2022, 6.30pm - 8pm BST

Free, booking essential

Vernon Square campus, Research Forum Seminar Room

This is an in person event. Booking will close 30 minutes before the event begins.

Black and white photograph of the artist Rodin standing on a platform in his studio surrounded by parts of sculptures
Barbara T. Smith, Celebration of the Holy Squash (The Reliquary), mixed media, 1971. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen.