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Stories in Porcelain: Matter, Narrative, and the Figural Ideal

yonanMichael Yonan, Professor of Art History in the School of Visual Studies at the University of Missouri, will center his lecture around a unique ceramic depiction of the famous mythological subject The Judgement of Paris. This talk is entitled “Stories in Porcelain: Matter, Narrative, and the Figural Ideal,” and will be held on Thursday, November 14th, at 4:10pm in Cohen Hall room 203 with a reception to follow in the Cohen atrium.

Dr. Yonan will specifically dive into the large-scale figural group, The Judgement of Paris, now in the collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum, which was designed by the noted modeler Johann Joachim Kaendler and produced by the royal porcelain manufactory at Meissen in the 1760s. This piece will be pivotal in answering the question “What happens when an artist tries to tell a familiar story in a new medium? 

The analysis of this piece, as opposed to other prominent representations of the mythological story, brings up interesting issues. According to Dr. Yonan, “The Meissen Judgment of Paris connects concerns about ceramics, the body, beauty, and good taste into a single subject, thereby revealing tensions about porcelain’s future as a medium for conveying the human form.”

Dr. Yonan’s scholarly endeavors focus mostly on eighteenth and nineteenth century European art with a special emphasis on the arts in Central and Northern Europe. He is interested broadly in the decorative arts and material culture and has published and edited extensively regarding these subjects and more. If you would like to see a comprehensive list of his scholarship, visit his University of Missouri biographical page here.

Sponsored by the Department of History of Art, the Goldberg Lecture is free and open to the public. Parking is available in all non-reserved spaces in Lot 95 near Cohen Hall, off 21st Avenue South on the Peabody campus and across from Medical Center East. For more information, call the department at 615.322.2831.