‘Art and Emotions’ in collaboration with The National Gallery

Our next event – The Sublime – is on 15th March. Ticketing details to follow shortly.

Reviews of our launch event On Regret.

Organised in partnership with The Centre for Philosophy and Art, King’s College London, this panel discussion is the first in a series exploring the relationship between the National Gallery Collection – as well as art more widely – and our emotions. 

Regrets may be painful or bittersweet. They can be ethically loaded or merely a question of ‘what if?’. But above all they can be understood as a mix of reminiscence and grief over things that we have done or have failed to do.  

At this event: Vanessa Brassey, lecturer and co-director of the Centre for Philosophy and Art, Andy West, author of ‘The Life Inside: A Memoir of Prison, Family and Philosophy’, author and arts journalist Chloë Ashby, and Sacha Golob, Reader in Philosophy, King’s College London.

Review by Devraat Awasthi (USA)

“COVID-19 has been a period of profound regret for people the world over – our plans cut short; our friends and family separated; and our precious moments of human interaction reduced to pixelated data points. But one key gain from COVID-19 has been the normalization of events that the entire world can attend, and last Friday, the Center for Philosophy and Art at King’s College London hosted an event at the National Gallery that I was able to attend from clear across the Atlantic. The virtual lecture and Q&A was part of an ongoing series interrogating the way art captures emotions. The talk I attended was specifically focused on the emotion of regret and was nothing short of cathartic. Watching Dr. Brassey guide viewers through the National Gallery’s collection of regret in Rubens rendition of Samson and Delilah, self-portraits by Rembrandt, and the water lilies of Monet was a fascinating chance to wander the gallery’s halls in a focused, guided inquiry into art and emotion. Listening to Professor Sacha Golob question scholars from across the country on their own views of regret, its relationship to nostalgia, and the potential for collective forms of regret was an almost therapeutic opportunity to question the emotion itself and discern its true meaning. In hindsight, this series of talks by the CPA promises to remind viewers of what we once so frequently observed at museums, galleries, and exhibitions everywhere: that the greatest value of art is most often found not in the canvas itself, or even the history of its making, but in the deeply buried emotions we are forced to confront in the talking about it.”

Trailers for ‘The Pleasures of Regret’

Image: Detail from Claude Monet, ‘Water-Lilies, Setting Sun’, about 1907 (c) The National Gallery