Attributed to Robert Jacob Gordon, Upper (Northern) Half of Gordon’s ‘Great Map of Southern Africa, ca. 1786; ink, pencil, and watercolor on paper, 91.5 × 203 cm (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, RP-T-1914-17-3-A). More information and a high resolution image is available here»
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Press release (14 February 2017) from the Rijksmuseum:
Today the Rijksmuseum launches www.robertjacobgordon.nl through which all of Robert Jacob Gordon’s drawings, diaries and letters are made accessible to all for the first time. The 18th-century Dutch explorer documented South Africa’s inhabitants, flora, and fauna in more than 450 detailed drawings. He meticulously noted down in his diaries and letters everything he experienced during his expeditions. The drawings, which include unique 8-metre-long panoramas, form part of the collection at the Rijksmuseum. The diaries and letters are kept in the Brendhurst Library in Johannesburg. On the occasion of the exhibition Good Hope: South Africa and the Netherlands from 1600, all of Gordon’s diaries and drawings are reunited for the first time and thus present a comprehensive view of 18th-century South Africa.
Zoom in on 18th-Century South Africa
Through robertjacobgordon.nl, visitors are given a complete portrait of what Gordon encountered, and where. The site enables visitors to zoom in on the 18th-century map Gordon created alongside contemporary South Africa via Google Maps. The comparison revealed the uncanny accuracy of Gordon’s measurements. His diaries and letters are also made available digitally for the first time via the website. Gordon’s travel notes, discovered in 1960, are kept in the Brandhurst Library in Johannesburg. Through the website, these documents are made accessible for the first time. The original texts have been transcribed and translated into English for the occasion, with special functions linking Gordon’s texts to his drawings.
Robert Jacob Gordon
The 18th-century Dutch scientist Robert Jacob Gordon (1743–1795) travelled through the interior of South Africa during the second half of the 18th century. As a zoologist, cartographer, geographer, linguist, meteorologist, and anthropologist, he recorded his discoveries in an ‘Atlas’—a treasure trove of 450 drawings along with spectacular panoramas, multiple metres in length, that show precisely how Gordon portrayed the land, its inhabitants and the flora and fauna. To record all of this in words and in pictures, he made four extensive expeditions deep into the interior of South Africa, where he was frequently the mediator between the local people and the colonists, resolving conflicts arisen from arson, murders, and cattle thefts. As a representative of the European Enlightenment, Gordon poured his knowledge and expertise into the creation of ‘Great Map’, his compendium which remained unfinished due to his suicide in 1795 post the British invasion. A large number of Gordon’s drawings and metres-long, meticulously drawn panoramas can be seen in Rijksmuseum’s exhibition Good Hope: South Africa and the Netherlands from 1600 (17 February to 21 May 2017).
robertjacobgordon.nl is made possible by Cees en Ingeborg van der Burg and is created by the Rijksmuseum in association with Fabrique and Q42. The web address is obtained thanks to the Doesburgs’ Historical Society HetHuisDoesburg.
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From Open Education:
Six-Week MOOC | The Gothic Revival, 1700–1850: Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Beginning 29 February 2016
Taught by Dale Townshend and Peter Lindfield
Designed for the non-specialist learner, this six-week course is intended as an introduction to the inter-disciplinary dimensions of the Gothic Revival in British culture of the long eighteenth century (1700–1850). Over 6 weekly sessions, you will be guided by acknowledged experts in the field of Gothic studies through the following topics:
1 Introduction, and the Meanings of the Term ‘Gothic’ in the Eighteenth Century
2 An Introduction to Gothic Literature: Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764)
3 Gothic Literature after Walpole
4 The Gothic Revival in Architecture
5 Gothic Interiors in the Eighteenth Century
6 Gothic in Eighteenth-Century Visual Art
The MOOC commences on Monday 29 February 2016. Each session consists of three mini-lectures, quizzes, the use of reflective diaries, and peer discussion. Your tutors will be available for a one-hour live Question and Answer session per week. Further details about this will follow in due course.
Prerequisites: None, other than an abiding interest in the early Gothic aesthetic.
Time Commitments: Approximately 1 hour of formal instruction time per week, excluding your own personal study and reading.
Rules of Progression: Each successive week will only become available to you once you have completed the quiz for the previous week. Although these weekly exercises to do not count towards your certificate of completion, you are encouraged to complete them in preparation for the final quiz.
Certificates of Completion: Proof of having successfully completed the MOOC will be available at the end of the course. In order to qualify for a certificate, you will have to have scored at least 50% in the final quiz, an informal test comprised of a selection of questions encountered in earlier sessions.
Instructors: Dale Townshend (Senior Lecturer in Gothic and Romantic Studies Division of English Studies, University of Stirling) and Peter Lindfield (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Literature and Languages, University of Stirling)
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Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, The Banquet of Cleopatra, 1744
(Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria)
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Now in progress through Coursera (directed by Jeanette Hoorn with familiar faces including Jennifer Milam). . .
Coursera: Sexing the Canvas: Art and Gender
Directed by Jeanette Hoorn, 26 October — 13 December 2015
What do paintings tell us about sex? How is art gendered? Here we get up close to some of the great paintings in the world’s most famous museums, giving you insight into how art speaks to us about sex, sexuality and gender.
This course teaches masterpieces through the lens of sex and gender. We take you to the rich collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria and California’s Huntington Library giving you access to outstanding works from the western tradition and expert tuition from specialist curators and renowned art historians.
Each unit will examine the circumstances in which paintings are produced and received, and how contemporary spectators and consumers of art view them. Why do works of art made centuries ago continue to speak so profoundly to us today? What do art historians mean when they talk about ‘the gaze’? Are Matisse’s paintings ‘sexy’? What do the nude and the sleeping gypsy signify in Henri Rousseau’s extraordinary pictures? Why do viewers find Frida Kahlo’s small and very personal paintings so powerful? What do Gainsborough’s portraits tell us about masculinity and sensibility in eighteenth century Britain? How is the Australian ‘dreaming’ gendered? These are some of the intriguing questions you will study in Sexing the Canvas: Art and Gender.
The course is taught over 7 weeks and is made up of 9 modules:
1 Introduction: Tiepolo’s Cleopatra: Painting, Agency and the Gaze
2 The Culture of Sensibility and the ‘Man of Feeling’: Thomas Gainsborough’s Portrait of the Officer of the Fourth Regiment of Foot
3 Gainsborough at the Huntington: The Role of Music, Costume, Theatre, Charity and Passion in the Gendered Culture of Sensibility
4 Sexual Codes in French Courtly Painting of the Eighteenth Century
5 Orientalism, Gender and Display: Painting in Morocco
6 Henri Rousseau: Challenging the Myth of the Passive Woman
7 Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne and Max Dupain: Modernism, Gender and the Science of Movement
8 Sexuality and Dissonance: Frida Kahlo and the Struggle to Paint
9 What is Women’s Business?: Australian Indigenous Art and the Dreaming
No background is required; all are welcome. Visit your local art museum or gallery and look at some paintings.
All readings needed to successfully complete the course will be supplied. A rich list of resources will also be supplied within the course to assist you with you study for this subject.
The class will consist of lecture videos, which are between 8 and 12 minutes in length. Each unit has key readings, which, with the lectures, provide the content for the short weekly quizzes based on a multiple choice format.