The Worcester Art Museum's Third Thursday Master Series features in-depth presentations by art scholars, providing insights and stories about works in the Museum's collection or on view in special exhibitions. The art talks are held on most third Thursdays in the Museum Café at 6pm. See our upcoming events listed below.
Access to all events is by advance registration only. To register for an event, click on the associated 'Register Now' button in the table below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email and ticket.
Cost: Members free; Nonmembers $5. (Please note that the Museum is not currently open for general admission on 3rd Thursdays.)
Masks are now required for all visitors, age 5 and over, to the Worcester Art Museum, regardless of vaccination status. This policy, in response to rising COVID 19 cases in Worcester County, is effective August 5, 2021.
Hosted by the WAM Members Council, the Third Thursday Masters Series is presented with support from the Bernard G. and Louise B. Palitz Fund and the Amelia and Robert H. Haley Memorial Lecture Fund.
Men of Terror: A Comprehensive Analysis of Viking Combat
Thursday, November 18, 2021, 6pm
Speaker: William R. Short, PhD, 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.
Love Stories from the National Portrait Gallery, London
Thursday, February 17, 2022, 6pm
Speakers: Lucy Peltz, PhD, Head of Collection Displays (Tudor to Regency) and Senior Curator 18th Century Collections from the National Portrait Gallery, London; A. Cassandra Albinson, PhD, Head, Division of European and American Art, and Margaret S. Winthrop, PhD, Curator of European Art, Harvard Art Museums.
This Valentine's Week presentation focuses on works in our special exhibition Love Stories from the National Portrait Gallery, London, with the exhibition curator, Lucy Peltz, in conversation about selected works from this exhibition with two art scholars from Harvard Art Museums.
Us Them We | Race Ethnicity Identity
Thursday, March 17, 2022, 6pm
Speaker: Kimberly Juanita Brown, PhD, 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.
Valentin de Boulogne's Soldiers Playing Cards and Dice (The Cheats)
Thursday, April 21, 2022, 6pm
Speaker: Eve Straussman-Pflanzer, PhD, Curator and head of Italian and Spanish paintings, The National Gallery of Art, Washington.
Eve Strassman-Pflanzer discusses Boulogne's painting, The Cheats, on loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, including the artist's masterful use of shadow and light and imagery to convey the vices and unpredictability of 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 Collection of 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.
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, PhD, 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, PhD, 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 left: 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.
Thursday, February 20, 2020, 6pm
Speaker: Ethan Lasser, PhD, 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 left: detail, photograph © 2019 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
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 left: detail, © Estate of Robert Heineken, courtesy of Cherry and Martin Gallery
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, PhD, Art History Professor, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY.
Art Talks: Images of Women during the Weimar Republic and Images of Maternity in Otto Dix.
Image left: detail, © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), NewYork/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Thursday, May 16, 2019, 6pm
Speaker: Erin Corrales-Diaz, PhD, Assistant Curator of American Art at the Worcester Art Museum.
Topic: Thomas Eakins' The Spinner.
Thursday, April 18, 2019, 6pm
Speaker: Lee Mingwei, contemporary artist.
Topic: Five Stories.
Thursday, March 21, 2019, 6pm
Speaker: Kit Brooks, PhD, Independent Curator.
Topic: Blending into the Woodwork.
Thursday, February 21, 2019, 6pm
Speaker: Gloria Groom, PhD, David and Winton Green Curator at The Art Institute of Chicago.
Topic: New Light on Monet
Thursday, November 15, 2018, 6pm
Speaker: David Roxburgh, PhD, 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.
Thursday, October 18, 2018, 6pm
Speakers: T. Amanda Lett, PhD 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thursday, May 18, 2017, 6pm
Speaker: Vivian Li, Assistant Curator of Asian Art, Worcester Art Museum.
Thursday, April 20, 2017, 6pm
Speakers: Paula Artal-Isbrand, objects conservator, Worcester Art Museum; Amanda Reiterman, Archaeologist.
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.
Thursday, February 16, 2017, 6pm
Speaker: Heather Lemonedes, Chief Curator, Cleveland Museum of Art.
Thursday, November 17, 2016, 6pm
Speaker: Judith Dolkart, Mary Stripp and R. Crosby Kemper Director, Addison Gallery of American Art.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thursday, February 18, 2016, 6pm
Speaker: Worcester Art Museum Director Matthias Waschek.
Explore Bonnard's enigmatic and delightful country scene through this exciting loan.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.