Tim Benton will present the spring 2009 Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor Lecture “The Rhetoric of Images: Le Corbusier’s Lectures” on Tuesday, March 10, at 5:30 pm, at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
. Benton is lecturer in the History of Art at Open University (Milton Keynes, England) and the spring 2009 Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor at Williams College. The Clark/Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art sponsors this free lecture.
Swiss-born French architect Le Corbusier (1887–1965) was known almost as well for his stimulating lectures as for the buildings he designed, and once claimed to have lectured to 2,000 people for three hours. He asserted that his lectures were improvised but Benton’s research has demonstrated that parts of the lectures were carefully prepared in advance, not only in some passages of written-out text, but also with sketches which planned out in detail the drawings he made on large sheets of paper or on the blackboard during the lectures themselves. Although plentiful material exists—notes, sketches, some transcripts, and a few transparencies—this study requires detective work and some speculation. Benton will examine lectures Le Corbusier gave in 1924 in which he laid down the basic principles of his lecturing technique. Referring to the classic theories of rhetoric, Benton will explain how Le Corbusier’s lectures worked and how he persuaded his listeners that a revolutionary modern architecture was required.