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THINGS: A Global Conversation About Neutrality
December 2, 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Tickets are FREE with a donation in any amount*
Hidden messages scrawled on drawer sides. Secrets buried beneath layers of paint.
Threats of revolution. Promises of change.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, revolution and political upheaval created complex situations for craftspeople and consumers. Much like today, they had to navigate periods of extraordinary political tumult while meeting the expectations of those with whom they didn’t always agree and sometimes even hiding their own allegiances.
On the eve of revolution, Jacques-Louis David completed an arresting portrait of Antoine Laurent and Marie Anne Lavoisier. Monsieur Lavoisier, known today as the founder of modern chemistry, is seen alongside his wife at his table with implements of scientific study. Why would a seemingly innocuous portrait of the couple be pulled from the 1789 Paris Salon for fear of inciting revolution? And how did David, one of the most highly regarded portraitists to the aristocracy, navigate the shifting political sands of this violent, fraught period in French history?
A decade later, John Shearer constructed an imposing and highly embellished desk and bookcase which stands today as the Scottish-turned-backcountry Virginian cabinetmaker’s masterpiece. With so much exceptional detail, one could easily miss multiple hidden messages that reveal Shearer’s proud Tory affiliation. How, then, would a British craftsman in a newly-independent America maintain his loyalty to the crown?
Join Catherine Carlisle and David Pullins for a conversation about the necessity and perils of maintaining neutrality.
Director of MESDA Engagement
Old Salem Museums & Gardens
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America
Associate Curator, European Paintings
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, New York, United States of America
THINGS: A Global Conversation is an online program that features curators, makers, and other experts from around the world in conversation with people and objects from the Old Salem and MESDA collection. You’re invited to join the conversation via Zoom. Our things may be old, but the lessons we can learn from them are as contemporary and relevant as ever! Check out the whole series at: https://mesda.org/program/things-a-global-conversation/
*We know many of our colleagues and friends are feeling the financial strain of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Therefore, we are asking you to pay what you wish to help us keep these informative conversations going. If you can’t make a donation right now, that’s OK too. To request a free ticket visit: https://mesda.org/things-a-global-conversation-free-ticket-request/