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The Mona Lisa and other Housewives: How portraits lie about their sitters Lydia Bauman Tuesday 24 September 2019

How did Leonardo transform the ordinary housewife and mother of two into the icon of mystery which is the Mona Lisa, when other women, more distinguished and beautiful than her, come across as merely virtuous, shrewd or marriageable? How did unpopular and undistinguished men come down in history as figures of valour, status and importance? What do marriage portraits tell us about the perceived place of men and women in the home and in society? We will look at the subtle ways in which artists manipulate likenesses to respond to the ideas and values of their time and the whims and vanity of their patrons.


Lydia was born in Poland and studied for her BA in Fine Art at University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (John Christie Scholarship and the Hatton Award), and achieved her MA in History of Art from Courtauld Institute, London, (19th-20th century art - Distinction for thesis on Matisse's Illustrations to Poetry). Has lectured to diverse adult audiences, notably in London's National Gallery and MFA Boston USA. Her book on Great Themes in Art is being considered for publication by Merrell Books for worldwide distribution.