- Kenneth Clark
Kenneth McKenzie Clark, Baron Clark, OM, CH, KCB, FBA (
July 13, 1903– May 21, 1983) was an English author, museum director, broadcaster, and one of the most famous art historians of his generation. In 1969, he was catapulted to international fame as the writer, producer and presenter of the BBC Television series, "".
Kenneth Clark was born in
London, the only child of Kenneth MacKenzie Clark and Margaret Alice McArthur, his cousin. The Clarks were a wealthy Scottish family with roots in the textile trade (the "Clark" in Coats & Clark threading). His great, great grandfather had invented the cotton spool. Kenneth Clark the elder had retired in 1909 at the age of 41 to become a member of the 'idle rich' (as described by W. D. Rubinsteinin "The Biographical Dictionary of Life Peers").
Clark was educated at
Winchester Collegeand Trinity College, Oxford, where he studied the history of art. In 1927 he married a fellow Oxford student, Elizabeth Jane Martin. The couple had three children: Alan, in 1928, and twins Colette (known as Celly) and Colin in 1932.
A protégé of the most influential art critic of the time,
Bernard Berenson, Clark quickly became the British art establishment's most respected aesthetician. After a stint as fine arts curator at Oxford's Ashmolean Museum, in 1933 at age 30, Clark was appointed director of the National Gallery. He was the youngest person ever to hold the post. The following year he also became Surveyor of the King's Pictures, a post he held until 1945. He was a controversial figure however, in part due to his distaste for much of modern artand Post-Modernistthought. Nevertheless, he was an influential supporter of modern sculptor Henry Mooreand, as Chairman of the War Artists committee, he persuaded the government not to conscript artists thus ensuring that Moore found work. In 1946 Clark resigned his directorship in order to devote more time to writing. Between 1946 and 1950 he was Slade Professor of Fine Artat Oxford. He was a founding board member and also served as Chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britainfrom 1955 to 1960, and had a major role in the art program of the Festival of Britain.
Clark the broadcaster
An indefatigable lecturer in both academic and broadcast settings, Clark's mastery was to make accessible complex and profound subject matter that could then be appreciated by an extremely broad audience. He was one of the founders, in 1954, of the
Independent Television Authority, serving as its Chairman until 1957, when he moved to ITA's rival BBC. In 1969 he wrote and produced "" for BBC television, a series on the history of Western civilisation as seen through its art. Also broadcast on PBSin 1969, "Civilisation" was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, catapulting Clark to international fame. According to Clark, the series was created in answer to the growing criticism of Western Civilisation, from its value system to its heroes. In 1970, the Irish national newspaper TV critics honoured Clark with a Jacob's Awardfor "Civilisation". ["The Irish Times", "Controversy is indication of RTÉ's success, says minister", December 11, 1970]
A self-described "hero-worshipper", Clark proved to be an ardent pro-individualist, Humanist and anti-marxist. His comments on the subject of 1960s radical University students, from a final episode of "Civilisation", are but one example of his extremely critical view of
Post Modernismin all its contemporary forms: "I can see them [the students] still through the University of the Sorbonne, impatient to change the world, vivid in hope, although what precisely they hope for, or believe in, I don't know." - Clark, "Civilisation", Episode 12.
Clark believed in the sublime and noble nature of man, and his quiet, witty and often devastating criticism of environmentalism, the Monarchy, religious authoritarianism and
Statismcontinues to win him praise from a wide range of the political spectrum, most notably from those of a Classical Liberal and Objectivist mind-set. And yet, Clark was also able to see the Church as a repository for the best minds that the West had produced, a place where men of action were necessarily attracted. A highly tolerant man, in discussing those with whom he disagreed, Clark was able in a dignified and respectful manner, to illustrate his differences along with effectively expressing his praise.
He was Chancellor of the
University of Yorkfrom 1967 to 1978 and a trustee of the British Museum. Clark was awarded a life peeragein 1969, taking the title Baron Clark, of Saltwood in the County of Kent (The British satirical magazine Private Eye nicknamed him "Lord Clark of Civilisation").
In 1975 he supported the campaign to create a separate Turner Gallery for the Turner Bequest (an aim still unfulfilled) and in 1980 agreed to open a symposium on Turner at the University of York, of which he had been Chancellor, but illness compelled him to back out of that commitment, which Lord Harewood undertook in his place.
His wife Jane died in 1976 and the following year Lord Clark married Nolwen de Janzé-Rice, former wife of Edward Rice, and daughter of the Count of Janzé alias Comte Frederic de Janze (a well-known French racing driver of the 1920s and 1930s) by his wife Alice Silverthorne (better known by her married names as
Alice de Janzeor Alice de Trafford), a wealthy American heiress resident in Kenya. Lord Clark died in Hythe after a short illness in 1983. In the last days of his life, he was received into the Catholic Church.
Lord Clark continues to be a source of inspiration for many contemporary artists, historians and television producers.
* "The great artist takes what he needs."
* "Heroes don't often tolerate the company of other heroes."
* "Seen by itself the David's body might be some unusually taut and vivid work of antiquity; it is only when we come to the head that we are aware of a spiritual force that the ancient world never knew. I suppose that this quality, which I may call heroic, is not a part of most people's idea of civilisation. It involves a contempt for convenience and a sacrifice of all those pleasures that contribute to what we call civilised life. It is the enemy of happiness."
Opera, next to Gothic architecture, is one of the strangest inventions of Western man. It could not have been foreseen by any logical process."
* "People sometimes tell me that they prefer barbarism to civilization. I doubt if they have given it a long enough trial. Like the people of
Alexandria, they are bored by civilisation; but all the evidence suggests that the boredom of barbarism is infinitely greater."
* "It is lack of confidence, more than anything else, that kills a civilisation. We can destroy ourselves by
cynicismand disillusion, just as effectively as by bombs."
* "Lives devoted to Beauty seldom end well."
* "I wonder if a single thought that has helped forward the human spirit has ever been conceived or written down in an enormous room."
* "The great achievement of the Catholic Church lay in harmonizing, civilizing the deepest impulses of ordinary, ignorant people."
Popular culture references
*In Episode 37 of the television series "
Monty Python's Flying Circus", Clark is portrayed in a boxing match against Jack Bodell, then UK heavyweight champion. Since Clark merely paces the ring lecturing about English renaissance art and does not throw any punches, Bodell knocks him out in the first round. Bodell is thus named the new Professor of Fine Art at Oxford.
The Album of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the Film of Monty Python and the Holy Grail", Clark is portrayed as introducing the final portion of the record. As 'Clark' sounds rather different than he ought to, the announcer reassures the listener that it "was" Clark, and that he "had a bit of a cold".
*In Episode 21 of the television series "
Second City Television", Clark is portrayed as a guest on the Sammy Maudlin Show, where he promotes a sequel to Civilisation by showing some outtakes from the show.
Not the Nine O'Clock News, Series 2 - Episode 7 First Aired: May 12, 1980, the Under Secretary For Defence, (Rowan Atkinson), after explaining that the world is about to end and that everyone should have as much sex as possible before civilization collapses, sums up with "Eat your heart out, Lord Clark."
*He is mentioned as one of the many members of the
Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.
tyles and Honours
* Mr Kenneth Clark (1903-1938)
* Sir Kenneth Clark KCB (1938-1946)
* Prof. Sir Kenneth Clark KCB (1946-1949)
* Prof. Sir Kenneth Clark KCB FBA (1949-1950)
* Sir Kenneth Clark KCB FBA (1950-1959)
* Sir Kenneth Clark CH KCB FBA (1959-1969)
* The Rt. Hon. The Lord Clark CH KCB FBA (1969-1976)
* The Rt. Hon. The Lord Clark OM CH KCB FBA (1976-1983)
*"The Gothic Revival" (1928)
*"Catalogue of the Windsor Leonardo Drawings" (1935)
*"Leonardo da Vinci" (1939)
*"Piero della Francesca" (1951)
*"Landscape into Art" (1949)
*"Moments of Vision" (1954), the
Romanes Lecturefor 1954. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
*"The Nude" (1956)
*"Looking at Pictures" (1960)
*"Ruskin Today" (1964) (edited and annotated by)
*"Rembrandt and the Italian Renaissance" (1966)
*"Civilisation: A Personal View" (1969)
*"Blake and Visionary Art" (1973)
*"The Romantic Rebellion" (1973)
*"Another Part of the Wood" (1974) (autobiography)
*"Animals and Men" (1977)
*"The Other Half" (1977) (autobiography)
*"What is a Masterpiece?" (1979)
*"Feminine Beauty" (1980)
* Meryle Secrest. "Kenneth Clark: A Biography" (1985)
* [http://www.transdiffusion.org/emc/theauthority/vulgarity.php Vital Vulgarity] Clark's role in the founding of ITV (from the Transdiffusion group of TV history websites)
* http://boards.ancestry.com/mbexec/message/an/localities.africa.general/435.3 – for Clark's second marriage to Nolwen, and her maternal affiliation
* http://www.cousinconnect.com/d/a/11502 – for Lady Clark's mother
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Clark, Kenneth Mackenzie; Clark, Kenneth, Sir; Clark, Baron
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Art historian, broadcaster and museum director
DATE OF BIRTH=
July 13 1903
PLACE OF BIRTH=
London, United Kingdom
DATE OF DEATH=
May 21 1983
PLACE OF DEATH=Hythe,
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Look at other dictionaries:
Kenneth Clark — Kenneth McKenzie Clark, (* 13. Juli 1903 in London; † 21. Mai 1983 in Hythe, Kent) war ein britischer Kunsthistoriker, Museumsdirektor und Autor. In Großbritannien gehörte Clark durch die Fernsehserie Serie Civilisation, die er für die BBC… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Kenneth Clark — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Clark. Ne doit pas être confondu avec Kenneth Clarke. Kenneth McKenzie Clark (Londres, 13 juillet 1903 – 21 mai 1983), baron Clark, est un auteur britannique, directeur de musée et producteur d une série à… … Wikipédia en Français
Kenneth Clark — noun United States psychologist (born in Panama) whose research persuaded the Supreme Court that segregated schools were discriminatory (1914 2005) • Syn: ↑Clark, ↑Kenneth Bancroft Clark • Instance Hypernyms: ↑psychologist * * * Kenneth Clark … Useful english dictionary
Kenneth Clark — Kenneth McKenzie Clark, Baron Clark of Saltwood (Londres, 13 de junio de 1903 Hythe, 21 de mayo de 1983) fue un historiador del arte británico. Biografía Efectuó estudios primarios en Winchester y secundarios en el Trinity College de Oxford, que… … Wikipedia Español
Kenneth Clark — ➡ Clark (II) * * * … Universalium
CLARK (K.) — Kenneth CLARK 1903 1983 Fils unique d’une famille de «riches oisifs», selon sa propre expression, Kenneth Clark, qui naquit à Londres, connut une enfance insouciante, rythmée par les fastueuses parties de chasse paternelles dans la grande… … Encyclopédie Universelle
Kenneth — Origin Word/Name Scotland Kenneth is a given name. Contents … Wikipedia
Clark (Familienname) — Clark ist ein englischer Familienname. Herkunft und Bedeutung Der Name entspricht dem neuenglischen clerk und damit in etwa dem deutschen Namen Schreiber. Varianten Clarke, Clerke Bekannte Namensträger Inhaltsverzeichnis A B C D … Deutsch Wikipedia
Kenneth and Mamie Clark — This article is about the psychologists. For other persons with similar names, see Ken Clark or Mamie Kenneth Bancroft Clark (July 14, 1914 – May 1, 2005) and Mamie Phipps Clark (April 18, 1917 – August 11, 1983) were African American… … Wikipedia
Clark — This article is about the surname Clark. For other uses, see Clark (disambiguation). Clark Family name A scribe or clerk, the occupation from which the name derives Meaning Clerk, sc … Wikipedia