Past talks


Rembrandt in His Time and Our Own

Wednesday, December 13, 6:30 pm

Lancaster Room

Speakers: Dr. Michael Zell (Boston University), Dr. Victor Tiribás (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Harvard University), Dr. Claire Whitner (Worcester Art Museum)

What can Rembrandt’s art teach us about life in the Netherlands nearly 400 years ago? How does it reflect on our lives today? Rembrandt drew inspiration for many of his etchings from his surroundings. Join us after hours, and learn how his extensive body of work, now on view in Rembrandt: Etchings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, is being used by researchers today to understand life in 17th-century Europe and its implications for our lives today.

Peter van der Coelen

Rembrandt’s Etchings, Innovation, and Ambition

Sunday, November 19, 2 pm

Speaker: Peter van der Coelen, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

On opening weekend, hear from Rembrandt curator Peter van der Coelen, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, in an illuminating talk on Rembrandt’s unrelenting drive to push the boundaries of etching as an art form. Visiting Worcester from Rotterdam, the exhibition’s curator will share about the ambition that drove Rembrandt to compete with the great printmakers of the past, such as Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471–1528) and Lucas van Leyden (Netherlandish, 1491–1533). Rembrandt: Etchings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is on view November 18, 2023–February 19, 2024.

Detail of 'Tar Beach #2' by Faith Ringgold

American Story Quilts: Conversations in Cloth

Sunday, October 15, 2 pm

Speakers: Jennifer Swope, Curator of Textiles at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Gerald E. Roy, Pilgrim/Roy Collection

Explore the centuries-old tradition of storytelling through quilts, at the intersection of craft and fine art. See several of these vibrant, evocative quilts up close and in person, during this talk only, with renowned collector Gerald E. Roy. Jennifer Swope, the curator of the MFA’s 2021 exhibition Fabric of a Nation, will tell the stories of these quilts and more, including two works on view in Faith Ringgold: Freedom to Say What I Please.


How Winslow Homer Challenged the Rules of Watercolor

June 18, 2023, 2pm

Speaker: Elizabeth Athens, Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Connecticut, and Former Assistant Curator of American Art at the Worcester Art Museum

Watercolor conjures notions of the delicate, the ethereal, the precise—of washes of color and of scenes bathed in light. Yet Winslow Homer actively took on those assumptions: digging into his paper, scratching out areas, and making brilliant use of accidents. Expert Elizabeth Athens will examine the scope of the nineteenth-century watercolor tradition in the United States, with a special focus on how Homer’s work both drew on and defied it.

Sneha Shrestha

Culture and Creation with Nepali Artist Sneha Shrestha (aka IMAGINE)

May 21, 2023, 2pm

Speakers: Sneha Shrestha (aka IMAGINE) and Samantha Cataldo

Join Sneha Shrestha (aka IMAGINE), a Nepali artist who meshes Sanskrit scriptures with graffiti influences, in conversation with Samantha Cataldo, the Worcester Art Museum’s Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, for a dynamic talk on the artist’s career and process. Shrestha will share about the mural work she has done in Massachusetts and around the world, and her painting, Devi (Goddess), which was recently acquired by the Museum. Shrestha has shown her meditative works in several exhibitions, commissions, and public walls around the world from Kathmandu to Boston.

Italian three-quarter field armor

Bringing Arms and Armor to Life

April 16, 2023, 2pm

Speaker: Jonathan Tavares, Curator of Applied Arts of Europe, Art Institute of Chicago

As WAM works to plan the new Arms and Armor Gallery, join Jonathan Tavares as he shares his work to bring arms and armor to life at the Art Institute of Chicago. Tavares will also share stories from the creation of the 2017 Nova episode, “Secrets of the Shining Knight.”

The Experimental Impressionism of John Henry Twachtman

March 19, 2023, 2pm

Speaker: Lisa N. Peters, Ph.D., author of the John Henry Twachtman Catalogue Raisonné (Twachtman Catalogue), a freely accessible resource hosted and published by the Greenwich Historical Society

WAM holds three works by John Henry Twachtman (American, 1853-1902), and his work will be featured in the Museum’s upcoming exhibition, Frontiers of Impressionism, opening April 1, 2023. Lisa N. Peters will share her expertise on the artist’s life and work, from the WAM collection and beyond.

The Remarkable Career of Guillaume Guillon-Lethière

February 19, 2023, 2pm

Speaker: Esther Bell, Deputy Director and Martha Berman Lipp Chief Curator of the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA

Clark Art Institute Deputy Director and Chief Curator shares the career of Guillaume Guillon-Lethière (1760–1832)—an artist born in the French colony of Guadeloupe and one of the most fascinating cultural figures of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Two works by Lethière are currently on view at WAM: a long-term loan of Lucien Bonaparte Contemplating His Mistress, and Girl with Portfolio from the Museum’s permanent collection.

Photo: Guillaume Guillon-Lethière (French, 1760–1832), Lucien Bonaparte Contemplating His Mistress, Alexandrine de Bleschamp Jouberthon, detail, 1802, oil on canvas, Lowell Libson and Jonny Yarker Ltd.

Detail of 'Women divers for shells' by Utagawa Kunisada

Making and Meaning in Japanese Ukiyo-e

November 20, 2022, 2pm

Speaker: Yukio Lippit, Jeffrey T. Chambers and Andrea Okamura Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University

Did you know that the Worcester Art Museum has one of the nation’s most comprehensive collections of Japanese ukiyo-e prints? One week before the opening of The Floating World: Japanese Prints from the Bancroft Collection, uncover the history and significance of the diverse ukiyo-e art genre with Harvard professor Yukio Lippit.

An ancient Egyptian monkey amulet

Symbolism of Animals in Ancient Egypt

October 16, 2022, 2pm
Live online via Zoom – this event will not be recorded

Speaker: Salima Ikram, Distinguished University Professor of Egyptology at The American University in Cairo

Professor Salima Ikram joins us online from Cairo, Egypt, to share her research about the symbolism of animals in ancient Egypt. On view at the Museum in Jewels of the Nile: Ancient Egyptian Treasures from the Worcester Art Museum, carved animal figures had wide-ranging and significant meaning in ancient Egyptian culture, with ties to deities and many aspects of daily life.


Amulets and Adornments from Islamic Lands

Thursday, May 19, 2022, 6pm

Speaker: Courtney Ann Stewart, Researcher of Islamic Art History, and the History of Jewelry and Gemstones.

As a prelude to the opening of Jewels of the Nile: Ancient Egyptian Treasures from the Worcester Art Museum, Courtney Ann Stewart talks about jewelry and gemstones from the Islamic world, highlighting the various associations of such ornaments, from symbols of power to sacred objects of protection. Featuring stunning artwork from the WAM Collection and others, Islamic jewelry will be contextualized and connected to precursors from Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Pierre Subleyras’ Portrait of Maria Felice Tibaldi

Thursday, April 21, 2022, 6pm

Speaker: Eve Straussman-Pflanzer, Ph.D., Curator and Head of Italian and Spanish paintings, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

This WAM portrait is featured in By Her Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500–1800, the first exhibition solely dedicated to Italian women artists. The co-curator of the exhibition, which started at the Wadsworth Atheneum and is now in Detroit, will share more about the portrait of this female artist and its role in the show.

Us Them We | Race Ethnicity Identity

Thursday, March 17, 2022, 6pm

Speaker: Kimberly Juanita Brown, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing, Dartmouth College.

Us Them We | Race Ethnicity Identity considers the ways that artists from the last forty years accentuate concepts like race and ethnicity through four formal devices: Text, Juxtaposition, Seriality and Pattern. Artists often employ one or more of these approaches as a means of storytelling, protest and celebration. Kimberly Juanita Brown, a specialist in visual culture studies, will address selected works in the exhibition and will share her thoughts on the stories they tell.

Image: Kara Walker, Scene of McPherson’s Death. Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), 2005, Offset Lithography and Silkscreen. © Kara Walker. Sarah C. Garver Fund, 2007.5

Love Stories from the National Portrait Gallery, London

Thursday, February 17, 2022, 6pm

Speakers: Lucy Peltz, Ph.D., Head of Collection Displays (Tudor to Regency) and Senior Curator 18th Century Collections from the National Portrait Gallery, London; A. Cassandra Albinson, Ph.D., Head, Division of European and American Art, and Margaret S. Winthrop Curator of European Art, at Harvard Art Museums.

This Valentine’s Week presentation focuses on works in our special exhibition Love Stories from the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Men of Terror: A Comprehensive Analysis of Viking Combat

Thursday, November 18, 2021, 6pm

Speaker: William R. Short, Ph.D., author, filmmaker, lecturer, and independent scholar specializing in Viking-age topics.

One thousand years ago, a runestone memorial was raised to a man named Fraði, called the “first among Vikings” and a “terror of men.” In this lecture, William Short discusses his new book that looks at how Viking society revolved around violence, seen in many sources. The holistic picture of Viking combat created from these sources allows us to understand Viking society and put a human face on these men of terror. WAM will also share information about our recently acquired Viking Sword.

Creating an Icon: Edward Augustus Brackett’s visit to John Brown’s Prison Cell

Thursday, October 21, 2021, 6pm

Speaker: Laura C. McDonald, Art Collections Registrar at Tufts University Art Gallery.

McDonald will share the amazing story of the bust sculptor Edward Augustus Brackett carved of abolitionist John Brown and will trace how the bust went missing at Tufts University. WAM will share an update on its conservation project of Brackett’s Shipwrecked Mother and Child.


Baseball by Design: Looking at the Rich Visual History of Our National Pastime

Thursday, June 17, 2021, 6pm

Speaker: Todd Radom

Todd Radom will speak on his expertise of the graphic design for professional sports, the aesthetics of baseball, and the dynamics of brand loyalty between consumers and professional sports franchises. Radom is the author of Winning Ugly: A Visual History of the Most Bizarre Baseball Uniforms Ever Worn, published in May 2018.

Multiple Voices on Asian Art Collection Reinstallation Display in the 21st Century

Thursday, May 20, 2021, 6pm

Speakers: Laura Weinstein, Ananda Coomaraswamy Curator of South Asian and Islamic Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Karina Corrigan, Associate Director of Collections and the H.A. Crosby Forbes Curator of Asian Export Art at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Kimono Fashion in Kyoto

Thursday, April 15, 2021, 6pm

Speaker: Monika Bincsik, Ph.D., Diane and Arthur Abbey Associate Curator for Japanese Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Lancaster Plaza: Vision, Process + Future

Thursday, March 18, 2021, 6pm

Speaker: Seth Wiseman.

The Lancaster Plaza begins the process of resolving issues with guest circulation and experience. Join us to learn more about the project vision, the design and construction process, as well as how it fits into the bigger picture.

Reginald Gammon: Notes on Assembly

Thursday, February 18, 2021, 6pm

Speaker: Kimberly Bobier, Ph.D., Assistant Visiting Professor in the Department of History of Art and Design at Pratt Institute.

Kimberly Bobier’s talk will focus on WAM’s recent acquisition, Gammon’s The Holy Family.

Image: detail, © 2019 Estate of Reginald Gammon / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Paula Modersohn-Becker’s Three Boys Bathing by a Canal

Thursday, November 19, 2020, 6pm

Speaker: Diane Radycki.

Diane Radycki will discuss WAM’s recent acquisition of German painter Paula Modersohn-Becker’s Three Boys Bathing by a Canal. Radycki will also highlight Van Gogh’s Portrait of Postman Roulin, which is currently on loan to WAM from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Dr. Radycki specializes in European art from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth centuries and is the author of Paula Modersohn-Becker: The First Modern Woman Artist published by Yale University Press in 2013.


Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere

Thursday, February 20, 2020, 6pm

Speaker: Ethan Lasser, Ph.D., John Moors Cabot Chair, Art of the Americas at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Art Talk: Paul Revere and John Singleton Copley: Making an American Icon.

Image: detail, photograph © 2019 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Photo Revolution: Andy Warhol to Cindy Sherman

Thursday, November 21, 2019, 6pm

Speaker: Diana Tuite, Katz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Colby College Museum of Art.

Art Talk: Paraphotography: Doing Things with Images.

Presented with support from the Michie Family Curatorial Fund, the Amelia and Robert H. Haley Memorial Lecture Fund, the Bernard and Louise Palitz Fund, and the Spear Fund for Public Programs.

Image: detail, © Estate of Robert Heineken, courtesy of Cherry and Martin Gallery

With Child: Otto Dix / Carmen Winant

Thursday, October 17, 2019, 6pm

Speakers: Ute Tellini, former editor of the Woman’s Art Journal and author of Images of Women During the Weimar Republic in Germany and Michelle Vangen, Ph.D., Art History Professor, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY.

Art Talks: Images of Women during the Weimar Republic and Images of Maternity in Otto Dix.

Image: detail, © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), NewYork/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn


Thomas Eakins, The Spinner

Thursday, May 16, 2019, 6pm

Speaker: Erin Corrales-Diaz, Ph.D., Assistant Curator of American Art at the Worcester Art Museum.

Topic: Thomas Eakins’ The Spinner.

Stone Journey

Thursday, April 18, 2019, 6pm

Speaker: Lee Mingwei, contemporary artist.

Topic: Five Stories.

Travels with Hiroshige

Thursday, March 21, 2019, 6pm

Speaker: Kit Brooks, Ph.D., Independent Curator.

Topic: Blending into the Woodwork.

Monet’s Waterloo Bridge

Thursday, February 21, 2019, 6pm

Speaker: Gloria Groom, Ph.D., David and Winton Green Curator at The Art Institute of Chicago.

Topic: New Light on Monet

Preserved Pages: Book as Art in Persia and India, 1300–1800

Thursday, November 15, 2018, 6pm

Speaker: David Roxburgh, Ph.D., the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Islamic Art History at Harvard University.

Topic: Illustrating Epic Poetry and History in Persian manuscripts from the Mongols to the Timurids.

Radiance Rediscovered: Stained Glass by Tiffany and La Farge

Thursday, October 18, 2018, 6pm

Speakers: T. Amanda Lett, Ph.D. Candidate, History of Art and Architecture Boston University; Diane Rousseau, stained glass conservator; and Amanda Chau, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Objects Conservation.

Topic: The Techniques, Conservation, and History of John La Farge’s Stained Glass.

Video filmed by Troy B. Thompson Photography


The Mystery of Worcester’s Leonardo

Thursday, May 17, 2018, 6pm

Speaker: Laurence Kanter, chief curator and the Lionel Goldfrank III Curator of European Art, Yale University Art Gallery.

Rediscovering Leonardo: Laurence Kanter delves into the fascinating story behind this mysterious panel painting.

Video filmed by WGBH Forum Network

Byron Kim’s Paintings: On the Relationship of Big and Small

Thursday, April 19, 2018, 6pm

Speaker: Byron Kim, contemporary artist.

Issues in Contemporary Art: Byron Kim will speak about his captivating life and work, including his unique approach to portraiture.

Dangerous Liaisons Revisited

Thursday, March 15, 2018, 6pm

A Reinterpretation of Ancient Music at the Chinese Tang Court: enjoy a cello concert with College of the Holy Cross visiting musician-in-residence, Jan Muller-Szeraws. This performance will be introduced by Shirish Korde, composer and professor, College of the Holy Cross.

Assyrian (Nimrud), A Winged Genius

Thursday, February 15, 2018, 6pm

Speaker: Ada Cohen, professor of Art History and the Israel Evans Professor in Oratory and Belles Lettres at Dartmouth College.

In the Company of Genies: Ada Cohen contextualizes WAM’s winged genius within the palace of the 9th-century BCE Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud in modern-day Iraq, where it was one of many such figures.

Video filmed by WGBH Forum Network

Coming Away: Winslow Homer and England

Thursday, November 16, 2017, 6pm

Speaker: Judith Walsh, Professor Emerita of Paper conservation, SUNY Buffalo State College.

Color and Line: Homer’s Studies in England. Looking at Homer’s English work for changes in color and line, Judith Walsh will show that this period was critical to his later success as demonstrated in the painting, The Gale.

Rediscovering an American Community of Color: The Photographs of William Bullard

Thursday, October 19, 2017, 6pm

Speaker: Maurice Wallace, associate director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, University of Virginia.

Maurice Wallace will present the topic “We Look Like Men: Early Photography, War, and the Double-Bind of Black Manhood.” Strong Eagle Daly, Nipmuc flutist, will play a tribute to his ancestors preceding the lecture.

Video filmed by WGBH Forum Netwo


Chinese, Lady with a Red Box

Thursday, May 18, 2017, 6pm

Speaker: Vivian Li, Assistant Curator of Asian Art, Worcester Art Museum.

Jeppson Idea Lab: Master Vases from Ancient Greece

Thursday, April 20, 2017, 6pm

Speakers: Paula Artal-Isbrand, objects conservator, Worcester Art Museum; Amanda Reiterman, Archaeologist.

Video filmed by WGBH Forum Network

Gaspar Miguel del Berrío, Our Lady of Mount Carmel with Bishop Saints

Thursday, March 16, 2017, 6pm

Speaker: Michael Schreffler, Associate Professor, Art and Architecture of Spain and Latin America in the 16th and 17th centuries, University of Notre Dame.

Devotion, Illusion, Curtains, and Candles: The Virgin Mary in Colonial Peru.

Video filmed by WGBH Forum Network

Mary Cassatt, Reine Lefebvre Holding a Nude Baby (Mother and Child)

Thursday, February 16, 2017, 6pm

Speaker: Heather Lemonedes, Chief Curator, Cleveland Museum of Art.

Video filmed by WGBH Forum Network

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, The Jewish Wedding

Thursday, November 17, 2016, 6pm

Speaker: Judith Dolkart, Mary Stripp and R. Crosby Kemper Director, Addison Gallery of American Art.

Video filmed by WGBH Forum Network

Jacob Lawrence, The 1920’s…The Migrants Cast Their Ballots

Thursday, October 20, 2016, 6pm

Speaker: Valerie J. Mercer, Curator of the General Motors Center for African American Art, Detroit Institute of Arts.

Image: © 2016 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Video filmed by WGBH Forum Network


Indian, Abhisarika Nayika Braving a Storm

Thursday, September 15, 2016, 6pm

Speaker: Vishakha Desai, Special Advisor for Global Affairs to the President of Columbia University and Professor of Professional Practice at the School of International and Public Affairs.

The Figurative and the Narrative in Courtly and Contemporary Art of India.

Video filmed by WGBH Forum Network

Joachim Meyer, Die Kunst des Fechtens (“The Art of Combat”)

Thursday, May 19, 2016, 6pm

Speaker: Jeffrey Forgeng, Curator of Arms, Armor, and Medieval Art, Worcester Art Museum.

Learn about this rare and important German fencing manual, and explore the fascinating prints it contains to illustrate the Art of Combat.

Video filmed by WGBH Forum Network

Vision, Perception, and Art

Thursday, April 21, 2016, 6pm

Speaker: Margaret Livingstone, Takeda Professor of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Margaret Livingstone will explore the topic of Vision, Perception, and Art, focusing on objects in WAM’s permanent collection, including Paul Signac’s pointillist work Golfe Juan.

Roman, Helmet for a Gladiator

Thursday, March 17, 2016, 6pm

Speaker: Donald G Kyle, Professor of History, University of Texas, Arlington.

Roman Spectacular Blood Sports: Both magnificent and menacing, the Worcester gladiatorial helmet invites us to enter the world of the Roman arena with its spectacular combats of men against men and against beasts.

Video filmed by WGBH Forum Network

Pierre Bonnard, Dining Room in the Country

Thursday, February 18, 2016, 6pm

Speaker: Worcester Art Museum Director Matthias Waschek.

Explore Bonnard’s enigmatic and delightful country scene through this exciting loan.

Video filmed by WGBH Forum Network

Olmec, Incised Standing Figure

Thursday, November 19, 2015, 6pm

Speaker: John Garton, Clark University.

Although small in stature, this stone figure reveals much about Olmec religion and culture. Learn what research performed in WAM’s conservation lab has uncovered about this figure’s facial scarification, body modification, and other spiritual symbols.

Terri Priest, Static Variations: Blue x 2

Thursday, October 15, 2015, 6pm

Speaker: Roger Dunn, Bridgewater State University.

Work by Worcester native Terri Priest (who passed away in 2014) is as varied as it is loved. Learn more about the woman behind this newly acquired work by the Worcester Art Museum.

Video filmed by WGBH Forum Network


John Brewster, Jr., Portrait of Mary Coffin

Thursday, September 17, 2015, 6pm

Speaker: Paul D’Ambrosio, President and CEO at Fenimore Art Museum & The Farmers’ Museum

A Deaf Artist in Early America: The World of John Brewster, Jr.: John Brewster Jr. (1766-1854) was a prolific, deaf itinerant painter, who produced many portraits of New England families, especially their children.

Video filmed by WGBH Forum Network

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, Fujiwara no Yasumasa Playing the Flute by Moonlight

Thursday, May 21, 2015, 6pm

Yoshitoshi: Composer Shirish Korde will speak about the different types of historical Japanese flutes. Flutist Alice Jones will perform three musical pieces, including Korde’s famed “The Tenderness of Cranes.”

Video filmed by WGBH Forum Network

Rembrandt, The Three Musicians and The Stone Operation

Thursday, April 16, 2015, 6pm

Speaker: Jon L. Seydl, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of European Art at Worcester Art Museum.

Rembrandt and Fallibility: Jon Seydl shares insights on two early works by the Dutch master.

Video filmed by WGBH Forum Network

Anthony van Dyck, Portrait of a Man

Thursday, March 19, 2015, 6pm

Speakers: Matthew Cushman, Project Conservator at Yale University, and Jon L. Seydl, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of European Art at Worcester Art Museum.

Portrait of a Man: Matthew Cushman and Jon Seydl discuss what conservation has revealed about this painting by Anthony van Dyck.

Video filmed by WGBH Forum Network

Raphael, The Small Cowper Madonna

Thursday, February 19, 2015, 6pm

Speaker: Linda Wolk-Simon, Director and Chief Curator, University Collections, Bellarmine Museum of Art, Fairfield University.

The Small Cowper Madonna: Scholar Linda Wolk-Simon sheds light on the Renaissance master, Raphael.

This lecture is generously supported by the Robert and Amelia Hutchinson Haley Lectures Fund.

Video filmed by WGBH Forum Network

Norman Rockwell, Study for “The Nightwatchman”

Thursday, November 20, 2014, 6pm

Speaker: Deborah Solomon

Reflections on Rockwell: Deborah Solomon, author of American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell talks about one of America’s most beloved artists.

William Hogarth, William James and Mrs. William James

Thursday, October 16, 2014, 6pm

Speakers: Rita Albertson, Chief Conservator at Worcester Art Museum, and Philip A. Klausmeyer, Paintings Conservator and Scientist at Worcester Art Museum.

Preserving Mr. and Mrs. James: Worcester Art Museum conservators Rita Albertson and Philip Klausmeyer discuss their work restoring the Hogarth paintings.