How Knox and Picasso changed the world

The impact of two very different, but incredibly influential, men is the focus of the latest Big Idea Podcast from the University.

Two leading academics discuss how the preacher John Knox and the artist Pablo Picasso can claim to be world changers.

Knox brought the Reformation to 16th century Scotland. Picasso refashioned art’s centuries-old rules in his own image and defined how the 20th century looked.

Back in the news

Born nearly 400 years apart, both these firebrands had eventful, turbulent lives, and both have been back in the news recently.

A new biography of Knox has given the preacher a more doubtful, human side. One of Picasso’s later works, The Women of Algiers, sold for £115 million at auction in May. It was the highest amount ever paid for a painting.

New biography

Professor Jane Dawson from the School of Divinity talks about her acclaimed new biography, John Knox.

She questions the idea that Knox was the father of Scotland’s education system, and reveals some new found evidence that he doubted the Reformation would last in Scotland.

Most expensive painting ever

Professor Elizabeth Cowling, honorary fellow at Edinburgh College of Art, explains the appeal and background of The Women of Algiers.

Author of several books on Picasso and curator of the celebrated Matisse Picasso show at the Tate in 2002, Prof Cowling unpacks the artist’s influence and how, with Cubism and Guernica, he changed everything.

The Big Idea

This podcast is part of the Big Idea series, a monthly show featuring academics discussing contemporary issues and sharing their research and expertise.

As well as being an accessible way for the public to hear about the University’s work, the Big Idea is also a forum for academics to meet colleagues from different areas, share ideas, and gain media training in a studio setting.

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Related Links

John Knox by Jane Dawson

Study Divinity at the University of Edinburgh

Study History of Art at the University of Edinburgh