By Jane Moynihan
March 16, 2023: The Bronxville Adult School is thrilled to present several informative and entertaining history lectures this spring with extremely engaging new and returning instructors.
On March 28, Joseph Forte, a professor for 44 years at Sarah Lawrence College, will present "Manna from Heaven: Food and Faith in Leonardo’s Last Supper.” On April 12, beloved history instructor Christine Axen presents, “Robin Hood Tales,” her first in-person appearance at BAS. On April 18, popular instructor Serdar Arat will present "Creative Flows: Islamic and Western Art,” followed by “Creative Flows: Islamic and Western Architecture” on May 23.
All lectures will be held at The Bronxville School at 7 pm. Tickets are $25 for each lecture and must be reserved in advance through the Bronxville Adult School website.
Professor Forte recently retired from Sarah Lawrence after enjoying a long, accomplished career teaching courses on art and architecture of the Italian renaissance and 17th century France. Born in an ethnic neighborhood in Brooklyn, Professor Forte eventually found the world of academia, receiving his PhD from Columbia and dedicating his life to teaching and scholarship. He held the Esther Raushenbush Chair in Humanities at Sarah Lawrence.
Forte’s lecture will examine the intersection of culture, food and art in Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, “The Last Supper.” He will discuss how the painting's symbols, color, style, technique, and subjects reflect the cultural norms of the time and da Vinci’s personal style.
His passion for exploring the many layers of meaning in the painting is infectious. The food, for example. “What is not on the table is just as important as what is on the menu,” he explains. Da Vinci was a vegetarian, so what do the bones on the table mean? Which dishes are most representative of Milanese food at the time? Forte will uncover these and many secrets in the painting. By the end of the presentation, you will realize you have learned about life during the Renaissance as well as art.
Christine Axen is well known in the BAS community for her hugely popular History Happy Hour series launched via Zoom during Covid. A medievalist specializing in French religious history, Axen has built a devoted following of people captivated by her discussions of the Middle Ages. This will be the first opportunity for students to enjoy her talks in person.
“Robin Hood Tales” will explore the original story of Robin Hood and its connection to popular culture. Axen explains, “there is a compassionate, charitable element to the Robin Hood tale that continues to be applicable and relevant.” Robin Hood is so well known from TV and movies — from Errol Flynn to Kevin Costner — that people often forget the original narrative upon which it is based. “I want to bring history back to the tale,” says Axen.
Axen received her PhD. from Boston University and currently teaches at Fordham University and St. John’s University.”
Turkish-born Serdar Arat was educated both in Istanbul and in New York, making him uniquely qualified to present “Creative Flows: Islamic and Western Art” and “Creative Flows: Islamic and Western Architecture.” The first lecture will explore the creative influences flowing between the art of the Islamic and the western worlds since the 9th century, from Spain to India, Leonardo da Vinci to Mehmed the Conqueror, medieval to modern, and beyond. “Islamic and Western Architecture” will explore fascinating topics such as: Is the pointed Gothic arch truly a Gothic, European invention? How come Islamic patterns adorn the Central Synagogue of New York City? Are the signature domes of Istanbul’s famous mosques truly Islamic in origin? These and other questions will yield unexpected answers.
Serdar Arat is a visual artist, exhibiting internationally since the 1980s, primarily in New York City and Istanbul. He served as a Professor of Art at Concordia College-NY from 1993 to 2017. He has been lecturing at BAS since 2018 and has developed a loyal following for his in-person and virtual lectures.
The Bronxville Public Library traces its origins back to 1875, when it was a small lending library housed in a room attached to the “Bronxville Model School.” The Library was officially chartered in 1906 and moved into the Village Hall Building. The needs of the library grew with the town and, in 1942, a new standalone building was erected, which is where the Library is today. Over the years, the Library was renovated and expanded to meet the needs of the community.
The Library has wonderful resources for adults and children and offers a comfortable and relaxing environment. The Library also houses a fine art collection, consisting principally of Bronxville painters and sculptors.
The Library offers special events, art exhibitions, and programs for adults, young adults and children. All events are open to the public, unless otherwise indicated.
The Bronxville Public Library
201 Pondfield Road (Midland Avenue & Pondfield Road)
Concordia Conservatory, a preeminent center for music education in Westchester County, is a welcoming community where children and adults find lifelong inspiration and joy through learning, performing, listening to, and participating with others in music. Concordia Conservatory, a community outreach division of Concordia College, offers top quality music programs for early childhood, youth, adults and seniors. The Conservatory's vision is to enrich the lives of the people in our community through music.
Executive Director: Kathleen Suss
Concordia Conservatory of Music & Art
171 White Plains Rd
99B Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708
117 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708