Lockdown online art history lectures 2020

November 17, 2020 by in

1. Just would like to say how much your regular talks have 

meant to me during these troubled Covid times, especially during 

lockdown where there was always something to look forward to. Of course 

looking at the works of art was enjoyable but the knowledge you shared 

about their style, composition, historical relevance and far more has 

increased my knowledge and understanding and has helped to look at 

paintings in a new light.

Many thanks,



2.Your sessions have become part of our lockdown routine, and we always look forward to Monday and Thursday evenings.  We have learned so much about individual artists, about how to look at paintings, and about art in general. What you say about the paintings makes them very accessible, and it is very refreshing that there is nothing “arty farty” about your descriptions.  You have a very well chosen vocabulary. As we are locked down in West Wales, there is no possibility of visiting the National Gallery, but your sessions have been a more than adequate substitute. Thank you so much.

Bryan and Carla Stevens


3.”I live in the Central Belt of Scotland 15 miles west of Stirling. The galleries I have visited most often are either in Glasgow, 20 miles, or Edinburgh, 55 miles away. I have not visited a London gallery in the last 50 years and am unlikely to do so. Art lectures locally are most likely to be about Scottish artists.

I value Lydia’s lectures because they have widened my horizons and shown me pictures from the British national collections and elsewhere. She has put them in context historically, by links to other works by the same artist, different treatment of similar subjects etc. Her talks are lively and varied and in this COVID era they are two of the few fixed points structuring my week. When I first became aware of them at talk 40 of her first series, I would not have predicted how important they would become to me. I am enjoying learning new things about art week by week.

Margaret Sparkes


4.Thank you for another excellent Zoom meet up.

I can’t tell you what these mean to me. I have Long Covid & disabled. I’m almost totally housebound & can no longer get to art galleries etc.

I was previously a member of numerous art galleries & have been privileged to visit the National gallery many times being a central Londoner.

These meetings mean I can now enjoy galleries in my own home.

See you at the next one.

Kim Byrne


5.I started to watch Lydia Bauman’s on line art talks right at the start of the pandemic In March when I was working as a key worker manager for a major utility. I was working long stressful hours with endless meetings on Teams and Lydia’s talks were a real lifeline opening up a completely different world all summer. They enabled  me to switch off and escape down the rabbit hole into  a whole new world.I even managed to train my team and colleagues not to call me at 6 pm !

I particularly enjoy her contextualisation revealing just how innovative the artist under consideration was. So easy when aware of later imitators to wonder what all the fuss was about. Other revelations about materials and pigments helped me to understand why for example Venetian renaissance art looks distinct from other schools.She helped me  to appreciate the external influences on the 20th century artists too and the effect  on them of exposure to non European art via colonialism.

My favourite revelation to date was the  Danish artist Hammershoi whom I am ashamed to say previously I had never even heard of. I think Lydia too was surprised by the number of comments in her chat box that evening. Her New Mexico road trip reprise on Georgia  O‘ Keeffe was also fascinating. I watched it with a 19 year old who is studying photography at uni and she saw things I did not twig to as well.Equally helpful was her unpacking of the Titian exhibition and the mythological subjects as I had hitherto found that  series paintings painfully dry. 

It has been fun watching us all from so many nations get the hang of Zoom and witness Lydia’s infinite patience and friendliness. I think Lydia brings a unique insight and take on the subject being a significant artist in her own right. 

Unfortunately I have less time at the moment to keep up with Lydia twice a week but I look forward to her next series of talks. 

If it would be of use I am more than happy to speak and expand on the above

Best regards



6.“ I have been taking part in  Mrs Lydia Bauman’s Art lectures since Spring, when I was first 

introduced to them, as a member of the Art Society. 

The  opportunity to follow Lydia’s lectures online is  such a treat, now as much as it has been during lockdown, being a French expatriate, living in a rural area of Scotland our meetings are one of the highlights  of my week. 

Lydia’s approach of Art history is so interesting, her views are really eye opening. I appreciate her sense of humour.  

Over the last months Lydia has offered to share with us her remarquable knowledge and understanding in such a wide range of subjects, from Domesticity in Art and Friday Night Specials which lead us at the end of lockdown to  the Summer School followed by the discovery of   exhibitions most of us were unable to attend as well as a new series of Private Life of a Masterpiece and Popular Themes  in Art ! From our home we  travel trough time and around the world from London, to Australia, Tahiti to Paris, Vienna to the USA exploring the magic of Art and the life of artists! What a wonderful experience! 

Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to visit London again with my friends , in particular to return to the  National Gallery   and see new exhibitions as well as  the great collection of paintings in  a different perspective, with a better understanding of their context, background  and symbolism.

I am looking forward to continuing this journey of discovery”. 

Eliane Gourlay 


7.Lydia’s talks have been an education over such a wide range – from the difference between the impressionists and the post impressionists to the attributes of Greek gods. 

We have felt we had a personal guide helping us to consider how to actually see a painting rather than merely looking at it.  Placing the picture into its historical context as well as sometimes considering works by the artist’s contemporaries. 

She has encouraged us to think about both the structure, and the story, created by the artist – lines, viewpoints, meaningful objects, symbolism, and the use of particular colours as highlighters.

We enjoy Lydia’s enthusiasm for her subjects and it is never obvious as to whether it is the first time or the hundredth that she has given the talk! 

Barbara and John


8.’Listening to Lydia Bauman’s online talks on paintings in the National Gallery during lockdown was invaluable in helping me to stay both fulfilled and entertained. I am no expert on art and art history, so I found the experience highly educational and illuminating. It has whetted my appetite to visit the National Gallery – often – and to get to know the collection better.’



9.During lockdown in March I discovered the wonderful Art for the uninitiated talks by Lydia Bauman. As I live alone and especially in the present difficult times the Art talks have been a lifeline. They have given me a structure to my day together with a community feel during the discussion sessions. I have found the talks to be extremely informative, enjoyable and covering a huge range of topics. A number of my friends have also enjoyed the talks and as a result we are able to discuss the content via phone calls and chats at a later time. Since retiring a few years ago I have been exploring and visiting galleries and exhibitions locally, National and abroad when on holiday unfortunately presently this is not possible and that is why the Art talks have been so valuable to me. Whenever restrictions are eased I will look forward to visiting the National Gallery to view more closely many of the paintings discussed in the talks.

Linda Dixon  


10. “ Lydia has nurtured a group of art enthusiasts into using Zoom effectively as a means of accessing art during the pandemic. She has all the professional expertise to deliver consistently high quality interesting talks and encourage interactive Q and A sessions. But her strength is her patience and poise in handling the hiccups that a group of sometimes over a hundred participants from different time zones and speakers of other languages and novices to Zoom might encounter. She has the online warmth to make new participants welcome and now has built a loyal following for her twice weekly talks. 

I have nothing but praise for her talks and on dark difficult days, her presentations

of the National gallery collection have lifted me to a better place.”

Kind regards Rose


11.I have followed Lydia’s online lectures virtually from the beginning, and have learned so much. I thought I knew the National Gallery well having been a frequent visitor prior to lockdown, but Lydia has added greatly to my knowledge and appreciation by placing the pictures in their broader context and revealing hidden symbols, all delivered in an enjoyable and engaging way.



12. I wanted to thank you for the Art for the Uninitiated talks that began in lockdown and are continuing.

I have not studied art but have always enjoyed it and, as a psychoanalyst, am interested in engaging with the arts from a psychoanalytic perspective and  learning from a cross pollination of ideas and thinking.  

I have found your lectures to be highly informative, varied in content and full of detail.  Your style is engaging, witty, humorous, inclusive and I never fail to be impressed by the depth and breadth of your knowledge.

It is no exaggeration to say that these lectures have been the highlight of my lockdown.  Even though I have been working full time by Zoom and telephone, I have attended almost all of your talks.  

I would thoroughly recommend them and will be continuing to attend for as long as you keep on giving them.  

With thanks and best wishes

Karen Jenkinson


13. A huge thank-you goes to the artist Lydia Bauman and the excellent lectures she has delivered several times a week through the Art with the Experts Meet-Up Group.  Totalling 50 at the time of writing, these have provided the opportunity to learn more about an artist or theme, in short sessions, in early evening, several times per week.  An ideal ‘after work’ and ‘social’ art fix for these times, and one which has enabled me to continue to feel connected to art and my artistic life.

Sue Carette


14. I have accompanied Lydia Baumann on a tour to St Petersburg for a week, where she made an invaluable contribution. I have invited her to our local Art Society where she gave an outstanding lecture despite a dodgy PA equipment and a broken arm. I have attended several of her events in London, including tours in the National Gallery.

She has a remarkable depth and width of knowledge and the ability to impart it with charm and humour. I particularly admire her ability to interpret a painting in a totally believable manner.

Wherever I might venture, she would be my first choice as a guide.

Michael Bray

CBE, MPhil Cantab


15 I really enjoyed the Thursday talk. 

You are so well informed and the delivery was perfect, pitched just right, accessible and still sophisticated and intriguing too 🙂 

(I’m a school teacher and know the complications that can present when not being very sure of your audience etc.. 🙂 

Thanks again 



16. Lydia’s talks are rather special.She has a way of bringing alive the fascinating history of paintings and the world of the National Gallery, especially for those who live outside London; and particularly for those who perhaps would not otherwise know how to begin to learn about art.

She is incredibly knowledgeable and her talks are welcoming, fun, engaging, meticulously researched, laced with subtle humour, and always contain something new. She has a creative way of showing us the relevance of art to all aspects of life. Everyone’s contributions and opinions are encouraged and respected, and add to the experience.

This has been one of the unexpected benefits of Covid. Lydia’s individual approach to art education is very popular, and – especially now – but also looking to the future, could be another way for the National Gallery to reach out to people, and  make art accessible for all.

Dr Carol K


17. Now that we face a second lockdown, I wanted to say how much I’ve appreciated and enjoyed your series of continuing talks [and conversations] on ‘Art for the Uninitiated’ and ‘The Private Life of a Masterpiece’ — most of which subjects can be seen at the National Gallery. You make their historical and human context  so vivid and clear and you bring such a lightness of touch that the paintings come alive in all their  splendid variety; and you animate the lives of the artists with so many scholarly insights! I’m sure that being a painter yourself helps you convey a much richer artistic understanding than perhaps a more formal academic presentation might achieve.You have now such a wealth of material that I hope the National Gallery will spot a unique opportunity to benefit! I certainly look forward to many more visits to the Gallery with my experience so enhanced by what I’ve learned from you.  

Richard J [an NG member]


18. “Meaningful activities are essential in times of restrictions. Lydia Bauman’s online high quality talks in the times of Corvid-19, have improved our appreciation and understanding of the visual arts since the beginning of the pandemic. We hope to continue with them even after the current situation becomes easier, but of course we are looking forward to visit the National Gallery and related places in a very near future.”

Raúl Espejo y Zoraida Mendiwelso-Bendek

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