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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.
Episode: Piero della Francesca, The Resurrection
By common consent, The Resurrection is one of the great religious pictures. Piero della Francesca shows the risen
Christ standing upright in his sarcophagus, one foot poised on its rim. He is wearing a pink funeral shroud and in his
right hand he holds a flag with a red cross on a white background, which symbolises his triumph over death.
This is no idealised depiction of Christ. Blood continues to drip from the wound in his side, and naturalistic folds
have appeared in his belly because of his raised left leg. His face is particularly striking. The bags under his staring eyes
suggest that he has not slept, his nose looks flattened and his beard is not well-tended. Writer Aldous Huxley, who
considered it “the greatest picture in the world”, noted this Christ’s “physical and intellectual power”.
Piero painted the sleeping soldiers very close to the foreground of the picture; the unbalanced figure at the right even
seems about to tumble out of it. By placing them in a variety of poses, the artist manages to keep them all unaware
of Christ’s presence.
There is also amazing evidence that the presence of this painting saved the town of Sansapulcro from Allied shells
during World War II.
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