"What can six apples not be?" This was the question Virginia Woolf asked herself as she watched three Bloomsbury painters subject a small picture of apples by Cezanne to intense scrutiny. This is not the only moment when painting disturbed her. "Artists are an abominable race," she declared. But the strong colors which her sister Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant began to use, in imitation of French post-impressionism, called for her attention. And suddenly, she too, as a writer, wanted to experiment and go modern. She began to rethink the shape and purpose of the novel, and before long she began to insist that "painting and writing have much to tell each other, they have much in common." Indeed, they have, as this talk will show. Professor Frances Spalding is an art historian, biographer and critic. In 2014 she curated the exhibition, "Virginia Woolf: Life, Art and Vision" for the National Portrait Gallery in London, and wrote the accompanying book of the same title.
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