Washington — Garry Wills, Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian and critic extraordinaire, will appear at the Smithsonian on Saturday, April 26, as part of the new American Pictures Distinguished Lecture Series, to discuss the mysterious and evocative Thomas Eakins painting, "William Rush Carving His Allegorical Figure of the Schuylkill River."
Sponsored by Washington College in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the series features an all-star lineup of eminent cultural figures who, on four Saturdays this spring, are each exploring a single powerful image in American art.
One of America's most distinguished public intellectuals, Garry Wills has published more than 30 books, a syndicated newspaper column, and countless essays on history, politics, religion and culture.
The critic John Leonard wrote in the New York Times that Wills "reads like a combination of H.L. Mencken, John Locke and Albert Camus."
Wills's book Nixon Agonistes: The Crisis of the Self-Made Man landed the author on President Nixon's enemies list.
Wills won the National Book Critics Circle Award for general nonfiction in 1978 for Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence. He was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism in 1992 and the Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction in 1993 for his book Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America. In 1998 Wills received a National Medal for the Humanities from President Clinton.
Wills, whose articles appear frequently in the New York Review of Books and other publications, is professor emeritus of history at Northwestern University. His most recent book is Head and Heart: American Christianities.
His April 26 "American Pictures" lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 4:30 p.m. in the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at 8th and F Sts., N.W., in Washington, D.C. For more information about the series, visit http://starrcenter.washcoll.edu.
April 10, 2008