Stars in Their Eyes: Apotheosis, Illustration, Commemoration, from the Ancients to the 21st Century

How and why did people get to become immortalised in the constellations? And what kind of significance can we draw from this practice? A talk and workshop exploring apotheosis past and present.

When, Where

Dr David Fallon will explore texts and illustrations featuring apotheosis, looking at a range of writers and artists from Ovid to David Bowie, including James Gillray, William Blake and Robert Palmer. He will show how an ancient pagan concept is alive in 21st century popular culture.

Award-winning medical illustrator Merlin Strangeway will then lead a hands-on workshop exploring The Apotheosis of Medical Illustration: When Beauty Got Messy

For centuries, illustrating the figure - particularly the dissected figure - has posed fascinating questions around the relationship between the body and immortality. As the mechanics of our being are opened up and exposed, the dissected cadaver occupies a limbo state, representing corporeal mass on the one hand and elevated martyrdom on the other.

Looking at the delicate balance between truth, beauty, the visceral and the exalted figure, you'll create miniature 'apotheosis flap anatomies' of the human body. These layered, translucent, illustrated atlases of the body elevate our inner workings and raise interesting questions about what it means to be human.

Dr David Fallon is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Roehampton. He has published on William Blake and eighteenth-century and Romantic-era booksellers, and is the author of Blake, Myth, and Enlightenment: The Politics of Apotheosis (2017).

Merlin Strangeway (née Evans) is a professional illustrator, passionate about recording the world in all its detail.  Her work spans commercial, educational and medical illustration, and she is currently undertaking an MA in Medical Art.  She has delivered education work for House of Illustration for seven years, and has collaborated with the University of Roehampton’s Romantic Illustration Network on previous workshops with U3A and schools.

All materials provided, but feel free to bring a sketchbook.


Tickets Price Number Total price
Total amount £0.00
Adult ticket with gift aid£22.00 £22.00
Adult ticket£20.00 £20.00

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