Public lectures and events

The Olive Branch: Symbolism in Western Painting and Sculpture

Sat, 08 Sep 2018 1:30 PM

William Hogarth called his paintings “dumb shows.” They lacked words, so he wrote extensive descriptions to accompany them. But words are not the only way to communicate an idea in art; visual symbols are just as effective. And the cleverer and more elaborate the employment of the symbols, the more complex the work’s meaning. Sometimes the meaning is intended to be understood by a select few, or even just the client and their immediate circle. We’ll choose some important works of art—secular and religious—of the past 700 years and, by decoding their symbolism, gain insight into the societies for which they were created.

This free event is co-sponsored by the Liberal Arts and 55+ Program and the SFU Seniors Lifelong Learners Society.

Date(s): Sat, Sep 8, 1:30-3 p.m.

Location: Room 1900, SFU Vancouver (Harbour Centre)

Admission: Seats for Free Forums are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the talk. While we cannot guarantee or reserve seats, there will be 200 available.

Related topic(s): Liberal Arts


  • Justin Newell

    Since 1985, Justin Newell (Italian-born and multilingual) has been lecturing on art history for universities and colleges, and leading enrichment tours of the Mediterranean and Europe for American and Canadian clients. He has lectured for the University of British Columbia, Continuing Studies Department, since 1997 and has been a program director for the Languages and Cultures Department organizing and leading art history tours of Italy. He’s offered lectures at Brock House since 1989, and he is Art Historian-In-Residence for elite cruise lines (Silversea, Celebrity, Costa and numerous others).

    In the Greater Vancouver area, he has lectured for the University of British Columbia, Capilano College (now Capilano University), Douglas College, numerous school boards, and private institutions. For UBC he created and taught painting courses, including Painting Techniques of the Masters, and for a number of years he participated in the Coquitlam School Board’s “Artist in the School” program, teaching painting and lecturing on Greek myth.

    Justin undertook his undergraduate studies at York University, Toronto (graduating in 1983). His post-graduate studies were self-directed in Europe, mainly in Italy, France and England. During the late 1990s and the early 2000s, Justin spent a significant amount of time in Italy, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, England, France and Greece, researching the collections of major museums, along with current and historical events.



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