Sunday's weekly lecture at the National Gallery sounds like a must-attend. Bruce Redford, the author of Dilettanti: The Antic and the Antique in Eighteenth-Century England, is giving a lecture called The Society of Dilettanti: Grecian Taste and Roman Spirit at 2 p.m. in the East Building Auditorium.
A quick Google finds this:
In 1734, a group of young British gentlemen, all alumni of the Grand Tour in Italy, formed a dining club in London. Calling themselves the Society of Dilettanti (from the Italian dilettare, to take delight), this close-knit association transformed classical antiquity from a private pleasure to a public benefit by sponsoring archaeological expeditions, forming collections, and publishing influential books on ancient architecture and sculpture.
The Getty did an exhibit on them last year, and the interesting web site notes this point: The Dilettanti combined revelry and witty irreverence with serious study of antiquity. They sound like my kind of guys. Read more here.