Release Date: February 27, 2006
Media Contact: Jim Duggleby, External Relations
Phone: (306) 585.5439
Mobile: (306) 536.4312
Fax: (306) 585.4997
Contrasting impressions of Impressionism
Impressionism is one of the most popular and influential movements in the history of art. Iconic scenes of ballerinas and lily ponds currently grace everything from tote bags and T-shirts to computer screensavers and wallpaper for mobile phones. However, at its inception, Impressionism was probably the most reviled artistic style in history. Ross King, an alumnus of the University of Regina, will explore these contrasting impressions of Impressionism in his illustrated lecture, "The Judgement of Paris: Rivalries and Reputations in Nineteenth-Century French Art" on Wed. Mar. 1 at 3:30 p.m. in room 100, Classroom Building, University of Regina. The lecture is open to the public, free of charge, and will be followed by a reception and book signing.

King will compare the widespread popularity of Impressionism in our society with the fierce contemporary resistance experienced by Impressionist painters in the nineteenth-century. Today, Impressionism has become a huge industry wherein Claude Monet's garden at Giverny places second only to Versailles as the most-visited tourist attraction in France. However, in the nineteenth century, Paul Cézanne earned such extreme public mockery and toxic reviews that he was known to shred his canvases in despair, and Monet once attempted suicide by leaping into the Seine. Why was there so much fierce contemporary resistance to the Impressionists? And how have their reputations enjoyed, for most of the past century, such an astounding reversal?

Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Ross King received a BA (Hons.) and MA in English from the University of Regina before completing a PhD at York University in Toronto. Following postdoctoral studies at the University of London he has published five books, including Brunelleschi’s Dome, which in 2001 won the American Bookseller Association’s BookSense Non-Fiction Book of the Year; and Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling, a finalist in 2003 for both a National Book Critics Circle Award in the United States and the Governor General's Award in Canada. His new book, The Judgement of Paris, has just been published.

For more information, contact Nicholas Ruddick at 585-4304.