Ian A Aaronson, Distinguished Emeritus Professor, Medical University of South Carolina, United States 

Monday 15–Friday 19 January 11.15 am COURSE FEES R550; Staff and students R275

This course will explore in depth five well-known and much loved paintings, placing them in the context of the life and artistic output of their creators. We will then expand our horizons by discovering how these works found resonance among other artists, who, although presently less well-known, merit greater recognition.

Among these artists we will meet John Everett Millais, whose Pre-Raphaelite painting of Hamlet’s beloved Ophelia in her watery grave mirrors Shakespeare’s own poetic description. We will then meet the Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi, whose paintings of eerily silent interiors find an echo in Edward Hopper’s depictions of the loneliness of big city life. We will also meet the German artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, whose spooky ladies of the night parading themselves in the streets of Berlin herald the expressionist depictions of a decadent society during the Weimar years.


Lecture titles

  1. Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’: The Renaissance masters and the Pre-Raphaelite rebellion
  2. Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’: The silent worlds of Vilhelm Hammershøi and Edward Hopper
  3. Monet’s ‘Woman with a Parasol’: Georges Seurat, Henri Matisse and the mystical power of colour
  4. Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’: The angst-ridden worlds of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Edvard Munch
  5. Picasso’s ‘Child with a Dove’: A mercurial artist in constant dialogue with himself