Sunday Lectures

THE MONGOL EMPIRE

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Price: 35.00 USD
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09 - 08 - 2019, 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM 2019-09-08 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM

Award winning professor, Dr. Lisa Balabanlilar of Rice University’s department of history, will offer a lecture on the Mongol Empire, which in the 13th century stretched from Korea to Hungary. She will discuss the reasons for the success of these tribal semi-nomadic empire builders and will explore their legacy. She will also include some discussion of her July 2019 trip to Mongolia with the Rice Traveling Owls.

LIFE LESSONS FROM THE DALAI LAMA: Hosting His Holiness

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09 - 15 - 2019, 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM 2019-09-15 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM

Mark Ryan and Ginger Clarkson had the honor of hosting His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, during his visit to Yale University in 1991—an experience that they found personally transformative. Drawing especially on that visit, Mark Ryan and Ginger Clarkson will discuss His Holiness’s remarkable capacity to lift the spirits of those around him, relating it to his teachings on such themes as compassion, suffering, happiness, forgiveness, gratitude, acceptance, generosity, human interconnectedness, the fundamental goodness in human nature, and the relationship between intellect and a “good heart.” They will share observations on how the Dalai Lama’s embodiment of delight, humor, humility, kindness, and inner peace—reinforced by his spiritual practices and his cultivation of joy and positive emotions—shapes his complicated and demanding participation in worldly affairs.

THIS IS HOUSTON!

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09 - 22 - 2019, 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM 2019-09-22 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM

The story of Houston’s founding and growth is one of the most remarkable urban histories in America. Established as a frontier capital in 1836, the city relied on a mix of ambition, dedication and—at times—sheer luck to transform itself into a regional trade center and, later, an international port and energy hub. In this lecture, we will examine Houston’s history, exploring the forces that have driven its development through the years and some of the dynamic people who helped build the Bayou City we know today.

RENOIR AT 100!

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09 - 29 - 2019, 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM 2019-09-29 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM

When Pierre-Auguste Renoir passed away in 1919 at the age of 78, he was one of the most beloved of the Impressionist painters, celebrated for his lively depictions of the charming side of life in Paris with works like his Dance at the Moulin de la Galette and the Luncheon of the Boating Party. He is recognized as the foremost portraitist among the Impressionists. Especially beautiful women from all strata of society inspired him throughout his long career. Although criticized for a certain superficiality in his choice of subjects, Renoir was nonetheless an innovative and multifaceted painter. This lecture will not only take a fresh look at the different phases of his stylistic development, but also examine his great popularity with American collectors. Many of his finest works were acquired by American private collections and museums, fetching far higher prices than works by his friend and colleague Claude Monet. As we honor his achievements today, one hundred years after his death, it seems appropriate not only to celebrate his life, but also to assess his posthumous fame.

THE LOUVRE: Behind the Scenes

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10 - 06 - 2019, 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM 2019-10-06 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM

Originally built as a fortress to protect Paris in 1190, the Louvre was reconstructed in the 16th century to serve as a royal palace, and it is today one of the best known museums in the world. Dr. Anna Tahinci, who worked at the Louvre, takes us on a “behind-the-scenes” tour of the Louvre, its history, collections, and challenges the "Louvre brand" faces in the 21st century— globalization and the export of French art and culture (Louvre Abu Dhabi) , the necessity of being profitable due to less governmental support, and the introduction of contemporary art in the context of a rich cultural heritage.

INSIDE OUT: The Latest Trends in Home Design

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Price: 35.00 USD
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10 - 13 - 2019, 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM 2019-10-13 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM

Too often we overlook the “dating” of our home’s living areas, kitchens, bathrooms, and even outdoor space. To avoid becoming hopelessly outdated and for fresh inspiration, come and see the latest trends in home design. As the heart of the home, the kitchen should be a welcoming place for the family to gather to enjoy meals, conversation, and comradery. We will look at the latest appliances, finishes, surfaces, and color combinations for a stunning kitchen “do-over.” For the master bath as a personal oasis and soothing retreat, there are many new finishes and fixture options that can take a bathroom from “boring to soaring,” especially with new integrated technology that offers a variety of luxurious choices, creating comfort and convenience for millennials and seniors alike. And what about the “great outdoors?” A well-designed backyard can be a relaxation retreat replete with beautiful plantings, a water feature, a shade structure, and temperature control options. Whether a major remodel or simple update is in your plans, it’s wise to keep an eye on what’s trending to get the most out of renovation dollars. This Sunday lecture will help anyone merely curious about the latest trends and those planning updates and remodeling.

THE REIGN OF LOUIS XIV: Method and Magnificence

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10 - 20 - 2019, 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM 2019-10-20 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM

Louis XIV is often viewed as a distant, cold tyrant who ruled France to satisfy his ego, creating a chronicle of lavish parties, wasteful extravagance, and useless wars that had no basis in sound statecraft. In this interpretation, his palace at Versailles was an expression of an ego that would only be outdone in French history by the excesses of Napoleon, who ruled less than a hundred years after the death of Louis. This narrative creates an attractive drama – particularly for English historians – but it is not accurate. The reign of Louis XIV, though at times marked by excess and tragedy, deserves a more balanced appraisal. In this lecture we will debunk some of the myths about Louis XIV and his rule. Though no saint, Louis was often wise in his choices, and his leadership was based on sound principles that made his kingdom more powerful and better administered than any other in Europe.

TAKING GREAT PHOTOS

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Price: 35.00 USD
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10 - 27 - 2019, 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM 2019-10-27 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM

Two of the most often-used features of iPhones and iPads are the Camera and Photos apps. The smartphone’s camera is quite sophisticated and can result in some very professional-looking photos. However, there are so many fun and powerful camera tools which offer many more options when taking pictures and can improve the quality of photos exponentially. Many of us don't know how to edit, share, organize, or back up our photos. In addition, few of us understand how to work with iCloud and Dropbox photo storage—not to mention knowing how to post the best pictures on social media. In this class we will learn how to unlock the potential of the camera and photo apps on our smartphones!

NORMAN ROCKWELL and the FOUR FREEDOMS

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11 - 03 - 2019, 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM 2019-11-03 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM

On the eve of America’s entrance into World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt made his famous “Four Freedoms” speech, elucidating the rights of people around the world to have the freedoms of speech and religion as well as freedoms from fear and want. The artist Norman Rockwell’s iconic artistic responses to these freedoms will be the focus of this lecture. Using his unique blend of illustration and realism, Rockwell portrayed FDR’s freedoms in an approachable way, visualizing and defining the freedoms so that average Americans could understand their importance. The remarkable transformation of those Four Freedoms from abstract words into concrete images and from an optimistic rhetorical concept into a living statement of human rights and dignity is a dramatic and inspiring story. The lecture will highlight the upcoming exhibition, "Norman Rockwell: American Freedom", at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

AUGUSTE RODIN: In Context

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11 - 10 - 2019, 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM 2019-11-10 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM

Acclaimed as the greatest sculptor since Michelangelo, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) renewed the ancient art of sculpture by boldly bringing it into the 20th century. Dr. Anna Tahinci, who defended her Ph.D. at the Sorbonne on Rodin’s lifetime collectors, explores how Rodin broke the rules of Academic sculpture, how he interacted with his contemporaries (including Camille Claudel), how he responded to the values and ideas of the culture of his time, and why the origins of modern sculpture are traced to him.

NOTRE-DAME CATHEDRAL & THE SAINTE-CHAPELLE

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11 - 17 - 2019, 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM 2019-11-17 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM

Notre-Dame de Paris may not be the most beautiful French cathedral, but it is certainly the best known and most beloved by people of all religious faiths. The spectacle of Notre-Dame engulfed in flames has kindled a renewed interest in this cathedral that symbolizes France’s Christian heritage. Built between the mid-12th and early 14th centuries, Notre-Dame illustrates the evolution of Gothic architecture. It’s located on the eastern part of the Île de la Cité. On the opposite side of the island, the Sainte-Chapelle was a palatine chapel (part of the royal palace), and, above all, a reliquary chapel to house the relics of the Passion of Christ. The most famous of these was the Crown of Thorns, which King Louis IX purchased from the emperor of Constantinople. After the Revolution, the Crown was kept in the treasury of Notre-Dame. It was miraculously saved during the fire. This richly illustrated lecture will examine the architecture and history of these World Heritage monuments.