Grand Illusions: Art And Music In England 1520 1770

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Course synopsis

The tumultuous changes in English society during this period
were naturally reflected in both art and music. But common threads ran right
through. Symbols, signs and motifs spoke, for example, of a rich and
distinctive culture and the widespread use of allegory to comment on current
events was there from the beginning. 
Above all, and despite (or possibly because of) European influences,
there was the yearning for a national identity.

In the Tudor period, English music was going through a
golden era.  Renaissance styles and
techniques had been absorbed by Thomas Tallis and others to stunning effect but
in the seventeenth century it returned to the doldrums, only to come back with
a flourish in the compositions of Henry Purcell. This ushered in a new phase in
which opera was enjoyed by the public at large, not just the well-to-do.

English art to look longer to find itself – partly because the
scene was dominated by a series of hugely talented European figures who made
their careers here. But the Restoration saw the appearance of native artists
who were able to convey the country’s new-found pride, and from there English
art never looked back.

Although we will be looking at the big names of art and
music in England during the period, there will also be a focus on the less
well-known but significant figures such as William Dobson, ‘the lost genius of
English painting’.  We will also be
examining the trailblazing contribution made by female artists and composers,
who until now have been severely underappreciated.

It is a compelling story, which will be fully illustrated by
photos and video clips.

The course outline is as follows:

WEEK 1:  Hans Holbein

WEEK 2:  Thomas Tallis

WEEK 3  Changing Tastes in the Elizabethan Jacobean courts

WEEK 4: Peter Paul Rubens 

WEEK 5: Anthony van Dyck

WEEK 6: Music and Art in the Civil War

WEEK 7: Female artists and composers in England 1650-1770

WEEK 8: Henry Purcell

WEEK 9: National Pride: art for a new country

WEEK 10: The Satirists: John Gay, William Hogarth

WEEK 11: George Frederic Handel

WEEK 12: Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough 

Book your place

Autumn 2021/22
Thursdays, 13:30 - 15:30
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About the teacher

Steve Millward

Steve Millward has been teaching music history courses since 1986, including several years with Manchester University's Extra-Mural Studies Department. He is the author of four books, including the...

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