Thunderclap, a memoir of life and art & sudden death

Laura Cumming
Victoria Hall / Online
10 Dec 2024 8:00pm - 9:00pm

Image: © Suki Dhanda

 Aslam Lecture

On 12 October 1654, a gunpowder explosion devastated Delft: the thunderclap was heard over seventy miles away. Among the fatalities was the painter Carel Fabritius, dead at thirty-two, leaving only his haunting masterpiece, The Goldfinch, and barely a dozen known paintings. The explosion that killed him also buried his reputation, along with answers to the mysteries of his life and career.

What happened to Fabritius before and after this disaster is just one of the discoveries in Thunderclap, a memoir that explores the relationship between art and life, interviewing the lives of Laura Cumming, her Scottish painter father, who also died young, and the great artists of the Dutch Golden Age. Her talk about the book will be accompanied by many images.

Laura Cumming has been chief art critic of the Observer since 1999. Her books include A Face to the World: on Self-Portraits (2009) and The Vanishing Man: in Pursuit of Velázquez (2016) which won the James Tait Black Biography Prize. Her family memoir On Chapel Sands: My Mother and other Missing Persons (2019) was a Sunday Times best-seller, shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford, Costa and Rathbone’s Folio prizes. Thunderclap was shortlisted for the inaugural Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction and won the 2024 Writer’s Prize for Non-Fiction.

Members: Free, Online or Victoria Hall
Non-Members: £10, Online or Victoria Hall
Please book, for online link only, by 1pm on the day of the event