Above: Exterior image of Athenaeum Music & Arts Library.
Castles adorn the cityscapes and landscapes of virtually every part of Europe. Many are crumbling ruins that evoke their origins as fortresses and are populated by ghosts of bygone eras, while others have been lovingly maintained and serve today as palaces, museums, or even luxury hotels.
Art historian James W. Grebl, Ph.D., will lead a virtual tour in four richly illustrated talks examining the history, architecture and art of the most intriguing examples of these romantic relics from the British Isles, France, Germany and Austria. In the process, the military, political and social roles of these complex, dramatic structures will be explored.
April 4—Castles of the British Isles
The first itinerary will look at a selection of remarkable castles in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, including the iconic Tower of London, founded in 1067 by William the Conqueror; the legendary Irish castle of Blarney with its famous stone; and the fairy-tale setting of Scotland's Glamis Castle, childhood home of the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
April 11—Castles of France
Among the sites viewed in the second installment are a number of medieval castles in Normandy and Provence, including William the Conqueror's great ruined fortress at Caen and the Palais des Papes at Avignon. Also considered will be a number of elegant French châteaux in the Île de France and the Loire Valley, including the crown jewel of Chambord.
April 18—Castles of Germany
German castles of the Rhine Valley and Bavaria will be among the subjects of the third session. The highlight will be perhaps Schloss Neuschwanstein, the romantic dream-castle built in the 19th century by Bavaria's eccentric King Ludwig II, but also covered will be the equally stunning 12th century Burg Eltz, the historic Schönburg, and many others.
April 25—Castles of Austria
The final program will explore several distinctive and historic castles in Austria, including the 11th century mountaintop Burg Hohenwerfen near Salzburg (used as a location in the 1968 film Where Eagles Dare); the stunning Burg Hochosterwitz, crowning a peak in Carinthia; and the elegant 16th century fortified palace of Schloss Ambras near Innsbruck.