MANCHESTER - James Maroney, former head of American Paintings at Sotheby's and Christie's, will discuss genre painting - the portrayal of people engaged in everyday activities - in a talk at First Congregational Church on March 5 at 7 p.m. His talk, "Painting Ordinary People," is part of the Vermont Humanities Council's First Wednesdays lecture series and is free and open to the public.

Genre painting has roots in both portraiture and History Painting, and emerged in the late 18th century as a composite of those two styles.

Maroney's talk will trace the development of genre painting from its beginning in the 1790s through its heyday in the 1840s, to its demise in the twentieth century. Maroney is an independent art dealer, organic dairy farmer and farm advocate living in Vermont. He is past head of American Paintings at both Christie's and Sotheby's, New York. He is a graduate of Columbia University.

All First Wednesdays talks are free and open to the public, and are hosted by the Mark Skinner Library.

Upcoming Manchester talks include "100 Years since Triangle: The Fire That Seared a Nation's Conscience" with Dartmouth professor Annelise Orleck on April 2; "Words We No Longer Use: A Study in Language and Culture" with Senior Rabbi Emeritus Dr. Ronald Sobel on May 7; and "The Examined Life" with philosophy and classics scholar Suzanne Claxton on June 4 (rescheduled from February).


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