22nd September 2020

This lecture explores the fate of the European avant-garde between the end of World War I in 1918 and the outbreak of World War II in 1939.  Artists, musicians and writers responded in dramatic and often unpredictable ways to the turmoil and change wrought by the Great War, the establishment of the Weimar Republic in 1919, the rise of Mussolini’s Fascist party in Italy in the 1920s, and the Nazi seizure of power in Germany in 1933. Some, like Picasso and Stravinsky, turned against the relentless experimentation which had previously characterized their work, while others, like Kandinsky and Mies van der Rohe, became even more uncompromising. The vibrant, dynamic era of the 1920s and 1930s was one of intense artistic activity across Europe, bristling with new and contrasting styles, and energised by the exciting possibilities offered by the emergence of new media.

Speaker: Rosamund Bartlett

Doctorate from Oxford and has held senior university posts, most recently at the European University Institute in Florence. Specialises in comparative study of art, music and literature, and currently writing a book on the Russian Avant-Garde and European Modernism. Author of several books, including biographies of Tolstoy and Chekhov, whose works she has also translated for Oxford World’s Classics. Extensive experience lecturing in Russian cultural history at venues such as the V&A, the National Theatre and Covent Garden, and broadcasts regularly on the BBC. Often invited to lecture on tours, and is founding Director of the Anton Chekhov Foundation, set up to preserve the writer’s house in Yalta.