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This award-winning BBC series, Private Life of a Masterpiece, reveals the full and fascinating stories behind famous works of art, not just how they came to be created, but also how they influenced others and came to have a life of their own in the modern world.
The works of art featured here are both instantly familiar and profoundly mysterious. Revolutionary in their conception, and iconic years after their execution, they each have their own compelling stories. For behind the beautiful canvases and sculptures are tales of political revolution, wartime escapes, massive ego clashes, social scandal, financial wrangling and shocking violence.
The artists and works included in this collection are:
Renaissance Masterpieces - Sandro Botticelli: La Primavera; Paolo Uccello: The Battle of San Romano; Leonardo da Vinci: The Last Supper; Piero della Francesca: The Resurrection.
Seventeenth Century Masters - Rembrandt van Rijn: The Night Watch; Johannes Vermeer: The Art of Painting; Diego Velazquez: The Rokeby Venus.
Masterpieces 1800 to 1850 - Francisco Goya: The Third of May 1808; Eugene Delacroix: Liberty Leading the People; Katsushika Hokusai: The Great Wave.
Masterpieces 1851 to 1900 - Edouard Manet: Le Dï¿½jeuner Sur L'Herbe; James McNeill Whistler: Portrait of the Artistï¿½s Mother; Edvard Munch: The Scream.
Impressionism and the Post Impressionists - Auguste Renoir: Dance at the Moulin de la Galette; Vincent Van Gogh: The Sunflowers; Georges Seurat: A Sunday on La Grande Jatte 1884.
Masterpieces of the Twentieth Century - Pablo Picasso: Les Demoiselles d'Avignon; Gustav Klimt: The Kiss; Salvador Dali: Christ of St. John of the Cross.
Masterpieces of Sculpture - Michelangelo: David; Edgar Degas: Little Dancer Aged 14; Auguste Rodin: The Kiss. In this fascinating series key works of art are investigated and the intricate details of their lives revealed - the history, contemporary reactions, and legacies of each are illustrated.
An informative and insightful series in which iconic works of art are extensively researched, focussing on the history, contemporary reactions and legacies of each piece.
Going beyond the Who, When, and Where of great art to address the all-important Why, this remarkable series firmly sets each of ten of the world's greatest masterpieces within the vibrant context of its times. A good deal of How is included as well, as X-ray analysis and 3-D reconstructions expand on the narratives - and solve long-unexplained riddles - by revealing details that could not otherwise be seen. And behind it all is valuable commentary by leading art historians, artists, art critics, and other specialists. Many images of other significant works are included throughout. Original BBCW broadcast title: The Private Life of a Masterpiece.
The Battle of San Romano. By Paulo Uccello
• The Battle of San Romano was created in Florence almost six hundred years ago - an extraordinary record of how war was waged, and how artistic breakthrough occurred, in the early Renaissance.
• Uccello’s masterpieces – there were three paintings of the battle - were the first paintings to apply newly-discovered
laws of linear perspective to an outdoor scene. The artful arrangement of broken lances on the battlefield
floor creates a believable sense of receding space in the midst of chaos.
• The paintings recount, and have, a troubled history. They were created for a wealthy Florentine patron, but coveted and seized by the ruler of Florence, Lorenzo the Magnificent, in an audacious art crime. And Lorenzo was not afraid to put his mark on the masterpieces: their giant arched tops, originally depicting sky and hills, were cut off on his orders.
• But the paintings tell of a battle when on 1st June 1432, the armies of Florence clashed with those of Sienna and Milan near the small village of San Romano, thirty miles outside Florence. Those fighting were soldiers of fortune, literally mercenaries.
• It was in the twentieth century that the paintings were was to find a new relevance. Young war artists like Wyndham
Lewis and Paul Nash were asked by the British government to produce works depicting the Great War. The dimensions of their paintings were to be exactly the same as those of the Uccello. And so the young artists found themselves examining the London panel, and finding in its inhuman, robotic, merciless combat echoes of the war of their own time. Mark Gertler, too, in his horrific Merry-Go-Round, seems to echo both the frenzy and artifice of Uccello.
• Uccello’s paintings still retain the power to enchant and disquiet today. They have been likened to Cubism and Futurism, Uccello’s horses compared to those of Picasso, his lances to the Blue Poles of Jackson Pollock.
• The pleasure that can be found in regarding these paintings seems timeless, though: their unique combination of historical accuracy, artistic adventure, and technical accomplishment seem likely always to enthral.
Please note this is one of the three episodes that were originally broadcast in 4:3.
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2008-05-05 23:37:25 +0100
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