Describing Giotto's Dream of Joachim
This talk will focus on a single panel from the fresco cycle by Giotto in the Arena Chapel at Padua, the scene usually called The Dream of Joachim. The picture is one of Giotto’s most wonderful and puzzling inventions. For many people Giotto is the Shakespeare of art history: a figure of unique inventiveness and intelligence, whose work depends on and sums up a previous complex (‘medieval’) culture while at the same time pushing his chosen art form in truly new (‘modern’) directions. The Dream of Joachim certainly does both. Describing it is as difficult as describing Hamlet.
T. J. Clark was born in Bristol, England in 1943, took a B.A. in Modern History at Cambridge, and a Ph.D. in Art History at the Courtauld Institute, University of London. He has taught at various places in Britain and the USA, and from 1988 to the present at the University of California, Berkeley. Clark is the author of a series of books on the social character and formal dynamics of modern art including Picasso and Truth: From Cubism to Guernica (2013). In 2017 he co-curated an exhibition at Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, Pity and Terror: Picasso’s Path to Guernica. A book entitled Heaven on Earth: Painting and the Life to Come, will be published in 2018.