April 26, 2007
Vol. 26 No. 15

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    Bross, Danziger lectures to focus on work of Bosch, view of pop culture through lens of Greek tragedy

    Josh Schonwald
    News Office

    The Division of the Humanities will welcome distinguished lecturers to campus for its annual spring lecture series, including the Bross lecture on pre-1800 European art and the Danziger lecture on classical literature.

    Award-winning author and critic Daniel Mendelsohn will lecture on Monday, April 30, on why Greek tragedy is relevant to contemporary pop culture.

    Mendelsohn, who wrote The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, will give the annual Sigmund Danziger lecture. The renowned author has titled his talk “Reality in Crisis: What Greek Tragedy Can Tell Us About Pop Culture Today.”

    Though one who frequently critiques others’ works in publications such as the New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine and The New York Times Book Review, Mendelsohn is a classicist, who is currently the Charles Ranlett Flint professor of humanities at Bard College.

    Robert Danziger (M.D.,’80) established the lecture to honor his father Sigmund Danziger, Jr. (A.B.,’37), who had been an inveterate reader and student of the classics. The National Endowment for the Humanities also supports this lecture, whose goal is to inspire an appreciation for classical literature.

    Mendelsohn will present the 2007 Danziger lecture at 4:30 p.m. in Rosenwald Hall, Room 405.

    At 3 p.m. Sunday, April 29, Mendelsohn also will present the Department of Jewish Studies’ Jean and Harold Gossett Lecture in Memory of Holocaust Victims Martha and Paul Feivel Korngold on the third floor of Swift Hall. Mendelsohn will describe his search for the stories of six family members who died in the Holocaust.

    Joseph Koerner, a professor of the history of art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, will untangle the mystery of the nature of evil as depicted in Hieronymus Bosch’s Renaissance triptych “The Garden of Earthly Delights.”

    Koerner will set up the mystery in a presentation at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 9, at the Art Institute of Chicago. On the following night, at 6 p.m., he will return to the Art Institute, and, like a Sherlock Holmes of renaissance art history, will solve the mystery.

    The unusual two-part lecture, titled “Enemy Painting: Enmity and the Unspeakable Subject,” is part of the Department of Art History’s 2007 Louise Smith Bross Lectures. Endowed in memory of Louise Smith Bross (Ph.D.,’94), the series, through only presenting its third program, is emerging as being among the most prestigious in the discipline, attracting leading scholars.

    “We’re very excited to have him,” said Martha Ward, Associate Professor and Chair of Art History and the College. “Koerner is one of the world’s leading scholars in his field. And we think this lecture on the nature evil will have very broad interest.”

    A specialist in German renaissance art, Koerner has broad scholarly interests, having written on Paul Klee, Caspar David Friedrich, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, as well as self-portraiture in German renaissance art. His lectures on Bosch, Ward said, are part of a larger project in which he is examining conceptions of evil and goodness in 15th-and 16th-century art.

    A bus will be available to take students to the Bross Lectures from the Cochrane-Woods Art Center. To reserve a space, contact Eddie Bennett at eddiebennett@uchicago.edu.