Saturday 16 February 2019, 10.30 am

Study Day:
Painting the Elements: Earth, Water, Air and Fire

Lecturer: Alexandra Drysdale
Location: DESY Auditorium

Lecture summary

This study day examines how artists through the ages have represented the Elements. The day begins with the history of the Elements in different cultures, from Ancient Greece to China and India. The Elements have been regarded as both physical substances and as spiritual energies that manifest themselves in nature and in the human being, earth with our body, air with our mind, water with our soul, fire with our spirit. This attitude towards the Elements provides the structure to the study day.

We shall explore how the different forms of an Element are represented in western art, principally painting:
• Earth: the earth, human body, food, sex, illness, death
• Air: sky, space, flight, intellect, abstraction, angels and aeroplanes
• Fire: sunlight, fire, candle flame, passion and violence
• Water: sea, river, swimming pool, bath and shower.

A wide range of art, including contemporary art, will be shown eg. Richard Long, Andy Goldsworthy, Frieda Kahlo, Ana Mendietta, Bridget Riley, David Hockney, Jenny Saville, Michael Andrews, Alexandra Drysdale.

Biography of lecturer

Alexandra is an art historian and a professional artist specialising in painting, sculpture and performance. Her lectures combine art historical knowledge with personal expertise in aesthetics and artistic techniques. Art from all periods, including examples of her own work, is examined from an artist's point of view. This entails a perceptive analysis of a painting's structure, its meaning, and its relationship to the history of art. She puts a particular emphasis on studying the symbolic language of the imagination. She holds a BA (Hons) Fine Art from Chelsea School of Art and an MFA from Cambridge School of Art.

Download invitation and registration form

Download poster

Alexandra Drysdale's website