Since the Ice Age, humans have been using their imaginations to create objects of great artistry and skill, many of them destined for spiritual or religious functions. Exploring the stories these objects tell and the shared narratives they reflect helps us to understand the nature of belief and the complex relationship between faith and society.
In this episode, former British Museum director, Neil MacGregor, discusses these ideas, which are the topic of his recent book Living with the Gods: On Beliefs and Peoples.
Impressionist painter Edgar Degas (1834–1917) is well known for his gauzy paintings of dancers, his motion-filled images of horses, and his striking portraits. But the artist also lived a fascinating life—from a privileged upbringing to family bankruptcy, from defending Paris alongside Manet during the Franco-Prussian War to feuding with the same artist over a portrait.
Getty Publications has recently published two biographical essays, both titled “Memories of Degas.” One is by the Irish writer and critic George Moore and the other by the Munich-born, London-based artist and critic Walter Sickert. Both Moore and Sickert were Degas’s contemporaries and write from personal experience with the artist. In this episode, Getty associate curator Emily Beeny discusses the life of Degas as it is revealed in these two essays.