Janetta Rebold Benton, Ph.D. 
Email: JBenton@pace.edu
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janetta_Rebold_Benton 

 92nd Street Y, New York City, NY

French Fortresses and Fantasies: The Châteaux of the Loire River Valley

Tuesdays, 12:00 – 2:30 p.m., June 4 and 11, 2019. Includes a short break with a light French lunch.

From forbidding fortresses to charming castles, the splendid structures of the Loire Valley reflect lives of intrigue and opulence. Medieval strongholds built for defense with moats and towers gradually gave way to spectacular Renaissance pleasure palaces. Sumptuous elegance, rather than physical comfort, was the primary design principle of the châteaux. Ornamented with paintings and sculptures and surrounded by reflecting pools and perfectly manicured gardens, they make the mansions of today’s rich and famous appear austere by comparison.

Distinguished Professor of Art History, Janetta Rebold Benton, Ph.D., a former resident of Paris, showcases these romantic and historic dwellings, and sets them in the context of French history.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

12:00–1:00 p.m. The Days of Knights: Step into the medieval and Renaissance eras at the Château of Saumur, its depiction featured in the Très Riches Heures of the Duke of Berry; Sully-sur-Loire, a prison for Joan of Arc; Langeais, a medieval stronghold that became a Renaissance château; and Châteaudun, built over three centuries.

1:00-1:30 p.m.  A French-inspired light lunch is provided.

1:30–2:30 p.m.  Country Life and Court Life: Visit little rural La Devinière, home of Rabelais; the Clos­-Lucé, Leonardo da Vinci’s last home; Azay-le-Rideau, built on an island in the Indre River; and the Château Royal de Blois, a unique example of the development of French architecture from the 13th through the 17th centuries.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.  Luxury and Liaisons along the Loire: The château of Chambord, with a miniature village on its roof and a double spiral staircase, is the largest castle in the valley. Chenonceau, the “château of the ladies,” was Henry II’s gift to his mistress Diane de Poitiers; when Henry died, his wife Catherine de Medici forced Diane to switch palaces and move to Chaumont.

1:00–1:30 p.m.  A French-inspired light lunch is provided.

1:30–2:30 p.m.  Renaissance Gardens: Examine the history, plans, plantings, and symbolism of gardens in the Loire Valley at the châteaux of Réaux, Langeais, Clos-Lucé in Amboise, Chenonceau, and especially the grand and glorious gardens of the château of Villandry.

For more information: 
https://www.92y.org/event/french-fortresses-and-fantasies-part-i.aspx

https://www.92y.org/event/french-fortresses-and-fantasies-part-ii.aspx

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

All-day seminar with French-inspired lunch and French wine, Saturday, November 3, 2018, 10 a.m.–4 p.m

Fortresses and Fantasies: The Châteaux of the Loire Valley

From forbidding fortresses to charming châteaux and castles, the splendid structures of the Loire Valley reflect lives of opulence and intrigue. Medieval fortresses built for defense with moats and towers gradually gave way to spectacular Renaissance pleasure palaces. Sumptuous elegance, not comfort, was the primary design principle of the châteaux. Ornamented with paintings and sculptures and surrounded by reflecting pools and perfectly manicured gardens, they make the mansions of today’s rich and famous seem austere by comparison.
Art historian Janetta Rebold Benton showcases these romantic and historic places, and sets them in the context of French history. Appropriately, the afternoon includes a break to enjoy a glass of French wine.

10–11 a.m. The Days of Knights: Step into the medieval and Renaissance eras at the Château of Saumr, its depiction featured in the Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry; Sully-sur-Loire, a prison for Joan of Arc; Langeais, a medieval stronghold that became a Renaissance châteaux; and Châteaudun, built over three centuries.

11:15 a.m.–12:30 p.m.  Country Life and Court Life: Visit little rural La Devinière, home of Rabelais; the Clos­-Lucé, Leonardo da Vinci’s last home; Azay-le-Rideau, one of the earliest French Renaissance palaces, built on an island in the Indre River; and the Château Royal de Blois, a unique example of the development of French architecture from the 13th through the 17th centuries.

12:30–1:30 p.m. Lunch     
A French-inspired boxed lunch is provided

1:30–2:45 p.m.  Luxury and Liaisons: The high life along the Loire: Château de Chambord, with a miniature village on its roof, is the largest castle in the valley. Chenonceau, the “château of the ladies,” was Henry II’s gift to his mistress Diane de Poitiers; when Henry died, his wife Catherine de Medici forced her to switch palaces and move to Chaumont.

3:15–4 p.m.  Renaissance Gardens: Examine plantings, plans, and meaning at Chenonceau, Villandry, and other sumptuous gardens in the Loire Valley.

Information to be available at:
https://smithsonianassociates.org/ticketing/Tickets/Reserve.aspx?

Smithsonian Journeys, Washington, DC

As the Smithsonian Expert on the following trips, I present several formal lectures on each, as well as many informal talks.

2018
 Great European Journey, June 12-22, 2018. For information: ​http://www.smithsonianjourneys.org/tours/europe-train-cruise/itinerary/
 London: One-Week Stay in England , July 5-13, 2018. For information: http://www.smithsonianjourneys.org/tours/london-stay/itinerary/

2019
♦ France Through the Ages, May 17-31, 2019 
https://www.smithsonianjourneys.org/tours/france/itinerary/
Highlights of Britain (England, Wales, and Scotland), July 13-26, 2019, 
https://www.smithsonianjourneys.org/tours/highlights-britain/itinerary/

Conference Papers
Institute for Medieval Studies, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, 
Medieval Animals Conference, Invited keynote speaker, presentation on "The Medieval Menagerie: Animals in the Art of the Middle Ages,"April 25, 2017. For information: http://www.unm.edu/~medinst/events/archives/2016-17/2017-sls-schedule.pdf

Article: 
​​​​​
“The Museum as Cultural Magnet: Enhanced Experience, Increased Attendance,” The State Hermitage Museum, Museum of the 21st Century: New Educational Strategies, Proceedings of the International Conference 25-27 November 2015, The State Hermitage Publishers, Saint Petersburg, 2017, 128-33, pls. XV-XVI, with summary in Russian.

Additional Lectures In China:
Hangzhou: China Academy of Art, public lectures with translators: 1) Animals in the Art of the Middle Ages, 2) Holy Terrors: Gargoyles on Medieval Buildings

Beijing: Tsinghua University, Broadcast of my lecture on Andy Warhol, watched by more than 3,600 people
讲座回顾 | “波普教皇”安迪·沃霍尔的一生
https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/h-2bsou72YW26O85biwNtQ

Shanghai: Shanghai University, Winslow Homer, American Consulate, Winslow Homer

Nanjing: Nanjing University, 1) Georgia O’Keeffe, 2) Andy Warhol

PUBLICATIONS
Andy Warhol lecture to be published by Tsinghua University in Periodical of Tsinghua University Art Museum, Beijing, 2018, forthcoming

Chinese translation of 2 volumes of Arts and Culture, 4e, Tsinghua University Press, Beijing, forthcoming

Janetta Rebold Benton is the Distinguished Professor of Art History at Pace University, NY. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award as Visiting Professor at the graduate school of Art History, European University, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2012-13, and has received a second Fulbright as Visiting Professor at the graduate school of Art History, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China, 2018.

Dr. Benton presents subscription seminars at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. She presented subscription lecture series at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, every season 1988-2011, and at the Schimmel Center for the Arts, NYC. She has also lectured at The Cloisters, NYC; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach; and elsewhere in America and abroad, including the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia and the Louvre, Paris, France. She is the Expert Lecturer on Smithsonian and Metropolitan Museum of Art trips throughout the world. A former resident of Paris, she taught courses in art history there as the Art Historian at the American Embassy.

She is currently working on her ninth book, ITALY'S RENAISSANCE: ART AND ARCHITECTURE 1280-1580 (Oxford University Press, NY, forthcoming). Her HANDBOOK FOR THE HUMANITIES (Robert DiYanni co-author, Pearson, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2014) is published in paperback and as an E-book. ARTS AND CULTURE: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE HUMANITIES (Robert DiYanni co-author, Pearson/Prentice Hall, two volumes and combined volume, fourth edition, 2012) is also published in Chinese (2011). MATERIALS, METHODS, AND MASTERPIECES OF MEDIEVAL ART (Praeger Series on the Middle Ages, ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, CA, 2009) is available in hardcover and as an E-book. MEDIEVAL MISCHIEF: WIT AND HUMOUR IN THE ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES (The History Press, Sutton Publishing, Stroud, Gloucestershire, 2004) examines an engaging aspect of medieval art. ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES (Thames & Hudson, London, 2002) is published in the acclaimed World of Art series. HOLY TERRORS: GARGOYLES ON MEDIEVAL BUILDINGS (Abbeville Press, NY, 1997) is also published in French as SAINTES TERREURS: LES GARGOUILLES DANS L'ARCHITECTURE MÉDIÉVALE (2000). Dr. Benton was the guest curator and catalog author for the 1995 exhibition MEDIEVAL MONSTERS: DRAGONS AND FANTASTIC CREATURES at the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY. Her book, THE MEDIEVAL MENAGERIE: ANIMALS IN THE ART OF THE MIDDLE AGES (Abbeville Press, NY, 1992), a Book of the Month Club selection, is also published in French as BESTIAIRE MÉDIÉVAL: LES ANIMAUX  DANS  L'ART DU MOYEN AGE (1992). Articles by Dr. Benton appear in IKON, Center for Iconographic Studies, University of Rijeka, Croatia, 2017; Proceedings of the International Conference, State Hermitage Museum Publishers, Saint Petersburg, 2017 and 2015; Encyclopedia of Humor Studies, Sage Reference, Los Angeles, CA, 2014; Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition catalog, SET IN STONE: THE FACE IN MEDIEVAL SCULPTURE, 2007; as well as in scholarly journals including Cahiers de Civilisation Médiévale, Poitiers, 1998; Arte Medievale, Rome, 1993; Artibus et Historiae, Vienna, 1989; and Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, Munich, 1985.

Dr. Benton was educated at Harvard University, Graduate School of Education, MDP diploma; earned her Ph.D. in Art History at Brown University; Master's degree in Art History at George Washington University; and Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts at Cornell University.