Olds returns to Museum of Art for Sloan Lecture

By Leslie Stainton
Museum of Art

Clifton Olds, the Edith Cleaves Barry Professor of the History and Criticism of Art at Bowdoin College, will deliver this year’s Doris Sloan Memorial Lecture at the Museum of Art at 8 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 7) in Auditorium B, Angell Hall.

Olds, who formerly was associate professor of the history of art at the U-M, will discuss “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Theories of Facial Beauty in Western Art.”

A reception will follow at the Museum of Art. Both events are free and open to the public.

In his lecture, Olds will trace the theoretical calculation of human beauty from the writings and sculptures of ancient Greece to the drawing manuals and comic books of 20th-century America.

Much of the lecture will focus on such artists as Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Durer, but Olds also will discuss works of a more popular nature, including, he says, “those that make definite and rather deplorable comparisons between the quality of the human face and variations in character and intelligence.” This portion of his presentation focuses on serious social issues, including racism.

Olds’ lecture will be illustrated with works ranging from Greek and Roman sculpture and 18th- and 19th-century book illustrations to 20th-century photographs, magazine advertisements and popular cartoons.

Olds has served as acting director of the Museum of Art and the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. He is the author, with Donald Hall, of Winter; editor and essayist for The Meeting of Two Worlds; and co-author with Egon Verheyen, of Durer’s Cities: Nuremberg and Venice.

The Doris Sloan Memorial Fund Program was established by the Museum of Art in 1989 to honor the late Doris Edwards Sloan, who for more than 15 years was one of the Museum’s most devoted friends and supporters.

Museum hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday and 1–5 p.m. Sunday. It is closed Mondays and major holidays.


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