Art historian William L Pressly offers an in-depth analysis of James Barry’s murals depicting the progress of human culture and knowledge.
James Barry’s murals, A Series of Paintings on Human Culture (1777-1784), form the most impressive series of history paintings in Great Britain, yet they remain one of the British art world’s best kept secrets. The murals contain a deeper hidden meaning that has gone unperceived for 230 years, the artist having disguised his message due to its inflammatory nature.
In a new publication James Barry’s Murals at the Royal Society of Arts: Envisioning a New Public Art, William L Pressly offers an in-depth analysis of these remarkable works and is the first to demonstrate that the artist was pioneering a new approach to public art in terms of the novelty of the patronage and the highly personal nature of his content.
Speaker: William L Pressly, emeritus professor of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European Art, University of Maryland
Chair: Matthew Taylor, chief executive, RSA