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Painting of a still life in a cubist format with flat coloured shapes representing cups and jugs on a table

Cubism for Tea: How Still Life went Modern

7 - 8pm


[ Online Talk )

This event has passed.

Join art historian Michael Bird for an online talk exploring the birth of Cubism and its impact on still life.

Around 1908, something happened at Parisian café tables. Instead of appearing in their usual shapes – which artists had reflected for centuries in their paintings – bottles, wine glasses and other ordinary objects took strange new fractured forms, as if a mirror had shattered.

This was cubism, the movement that set the pace for a century of artistic experimentation. Michael Bird looks at how some of those experiments played out through still life painting in Britain in the mid-20th century.

It was a period shaped by war and its aftermath, accompanied by seismic social, political and cultural change. In this online talk, Michael explores the different ways in which artists responded to these realities, and how the art of still life became the focus for a wide spectrum of creative visions.

This talk compliments our summer exhibition The Shape of Things: Still Life in Britain, 11 May-20 October 2024

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Photograph of a man in jeans and a blue coat leaning against a tree in a garden

Speaker bio - Michael Bird

Michael Bird is a writer and an art historian. His books include The St Ives Artists: A Biography of Place and Time, Studio Voices: Art and Life in Twentieth-century Britain and, most recently, This is Tomorrow: Twentieth-century Britain and its Artists, described as ‘brilliant’ (Spectator) and ‘revelatory’ (TLS). Michael has been guest curator at The Lightbox, Woking, and Museum Belvédère, Heerenveen. In 2023–24, he co-directed The Pallant House Project involving young composers from the Royal Academy of Music. He lives in Cornwall with his wife, the artist Felicity Mara.