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Masterclass on the science and art of ageing

January 17, 2011

Can Art help to change perceptions of aging?

Degas and Renoir’s paintings challenge negative perceptions about older people today.

A show of paintings in Newcastle UK,  aims to celebrate and explore age and the ageing process. It includes works by  Maggi Hambling, Renoir, Degas and others. Auguste Renoir and Frances Rose (left)  both had severe arthritis, one a painter and one a sitter. Renoir couldn’t hold a paintbrush easily, and I guess Francis Rose couldn’t thread a needle easily! But given the vitality in Rose’s eyes there is no doubt that, like Renoir (who took on an apprentice) she would find a way around it! Degas had retinal eye disease from a young age which may have contributed to the blurry edges in his paintings of ballet dancers.
We are increasingly living longer but still have much to contribute, one way and another, and there is much evidence to support it.
Monet continued to paint (and garden) well into his eighties 

Claude Monet

Japanese Bridge by Monet

and I find that David Hockney the British painter who is now 72 years old has abandoned his canvases and works on an iPad! He has embraced the digital age after a lifetime of paint and canvas.  Hockney’s limited print outs from his iPad will be going for £7,000-£20,000 each (a snip of the usual seven figured price it can normally fetch).

I have been watching the Hopman Cup in Perth where tennis pros limber up for the Australian Open Championship in January. Lucy Hopman now in her nineties travels from America to attend, and to present the cup. That’s resilience for you…

Lucy Hopman

In the UK Newcastle University has launched a “Changing Age Campaign”. It focuses on ageing and health.

“People of all ages can live their lives to their fullest potential”.

A major element of the campaign is the Newcastle Charter for Changing Age,  Since its launch in March 2010, the Charter has attracted high-profile support from politicians, celebrities and age-related charities, as well as a groundswell of public support.

The leaders of all political parties are being called upon to support the Charter in order to create a society in which people of all ages can live their lives to their fullest potential.

I support that! I think we need this in Australia….anyone like to take up the challenge?

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