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A Day of Genius in Norfolk/Virginia Beach (full morning / three classes)

October 05, 2019 9:30 AM – 1:15 PM

schedule

9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
The Musical Genius of Mozart

Craig Wright / Yale University

When asked to provide a list of “geniuses” in Western cultural history, virtually all respondents would include the name Mozart. What is it in Mozart's music that makes it among the most sublime ever written? What personal traits did Mozart possess that enabled him to create music of this extraordinary quality?

Using live music and video clips from operas, as well as from the film Amadeus, we will explore the enormous diversity of Mozart's music. At the same time, by examining color photographs of his autograph manuscripts and draft sketches, we will witness Mozart's attention to the smallest detail. Having explored his music in both breadth and depth, our attention turns finally to the enablers of Mozart's genius: genetic gifts, mentoring, motivation, concentration, self-confidence, and just plain luck. By the end of this session, we will come to see that not only is Mozart's music great, but Mozart himself was unique, and arguably the most extraordinary creator ever to set foot on this planet.

Craig Wright / Yale University
Professor Craig Wright is the Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Music at Yale. Professor Wright's courses include his perennially popular introductory course "Listening to Music," his selective seminar "Exploring the Nature of Genius" and other specialized courses ranging from ancient Greek music theory to the music of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Bach and Mozart. He was awarded the International Musicological Society's Edward J. Dent Medal and the American Musicological Society's Alfred Einstein Prize and Otto Kinkeldey Award - making him one of the few individuals to hold all three honors.

10:50 AM - 11:50 AM
The Political Genius of Franklin D. Roosevelt

Jeffrey Engel / Southern Methodist University

He was our longest-serving president and also our best. Washington set precedents. Lincoln preserved the union. But only Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to the nation's highest office four times. Only Roosevelt faced an economic crisis so severe it remains our benchmark today for calamity. Only Roosevelt saw a world on the brink of tyranny, knowing that his leadership was all that stood between isolationism and war, yet simultaneously a new democratic age versus an age of totalitarian darkness. So well-known to subsequent generations, he is easily recalled just by his initials, FDR. He kept secrets: secret love affairs, secret dealings with allies, and the biggest secret of all hidden in plain sight, the paralysis that kept him largely wheel-chair bound. The solutions he made public nonetheless forged the country, and in large part the world, we live in today.

He is the father of the modern welfare state, the progenitor of our modern unrivaled military, and more than any other, creator of the international rules of the road in place since 1945. For his generation and for many yet to come, he defined how Americans understood their place in the world, their government's role in their lives, and the very nature of freedom itself. Our longest-serving president, he was also our finest, ultimately saving American democracy from depression, defeat, and disillusionment.

Jeffrey Engel / Southern Methodist University
Jeffrey Engel is the founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. He has taught at Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College, and Texas A&M University where he received several teaching awards. Author or editor of twelve books on American foreign policy and presidency, in 2019 SMU Residence Life students voted him Professor of the Year.

12:10 PM - 1:15 PM
The Artistic Genius of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo

Denise Budd / Columbia University

In 1504, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) and Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), the two greatest artistic geniuses of the Italian Renaissance, were both working on enormous paintings of battle scenes for the Salone dei Cinquecento in the palace of the Florentine government. Though neither artist would ever see his share of the ambitious project to its completion, the brilliant full-scale drawings they created of rearing horses and muscular soldiers were known in the 16th century as the "school of the world". Notwithstanding the generational difference, the pairing of Leonardo and Michelangelo might have seemed like the ideal opportunity for intellectual collaboration: both were accomplished artists as well as so-called Universal Men, with shared interests across many disciplines, including painting, sculpture, architecture and anatomy. On the contrary, it only exacerbated what was described by their contemporaries as a mutual, fervent disdain, a relationship that was best exemplified by anecdotes of the two artists hurling insults at each other in the streets of Florence.

This lecture will explore how this great rivalry between Leonardo and Michelangelo – who were dissimilar in temperament and beliefs, as well as the manner in which they worked – contributed to the creation of some of the most famous and influential artworks the world has ever seen.

Denise Budd / Columbia University
Denise Budd teaches art history at Columbia University and a wide range of Renaissance art classes at Rutgers University. She has published several articles on Leonardo da Vinci based on her studies of the artist and his documentary evidence. Following this interest in archival work, her current research has extended to the history of collecting Renaissance art in Gilded Age America, with a focus on the tapestry collector and dealer Charles Mather Ffoulke.

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