The Impressionists: Painting and Revolution
Art writer Waldemar Januszczak explores the revolutionary achievements of the Impressionists.As the name suggests Waldemar Januszczak's aim is to show that despite appearing on chocolate boxes and tea towels the impressionists' art was and still is pretty revolutionary. Despite veering into gimmickry from time to time the series covers the ground well. The last episode, in which he considers the optical theories underlying Seurat's dottiness and how Monet's cataracts affected his vision, is perhaps the best of the lot.
Gang of Four
In the first episode, Waldemar delves into the back stories of four of the most influential Impressionists - Pissarro, Monet, Renoir and Bazille - who together laid the foundations of the artistic movement. He finds out what social and cultural influences drove them to their style of painting, how they were united and how ultimately they challenged and changed art forever. Waldemar journeys from the shores of the West Indies, to the progressive city of Paris to the suburbs of South London, where these four artists drew inspiration from the cities and towns in which they lived. He discovers how the Impressionists broke conventions by depicting every day encounters within the unpredictable and ever changing sights around them.
The Great Outdoors
Waldemar Januszczak continues his investigation of the Impressionists by taking us outdoors to their most famous locations. Although Impressionist pictures often look sunny and relaxed, achieving this peaceful air was hard work. Trudging through fog, wind and rain, across treacherous coastal rocks and knee-deep snow, Waldemar shows us how the famous spontaneity of the Impressionists is thoroughly misleading. This episode visits the French riverside locations that Monet loved to paint, and where Renoir captured the bonhomie of modern life. Waldemar also introduces a number of technical and practical developments of the age which completely revolutionised Impressionist painting - the invention of portable easels; the use of hog's hair in paint brushes; as well as the introduction of the railway through France. Plus, Januszczak explains Cezanne's part in the Impressionist story.
Painting the People
Waldemar Januszczak continues his investigation of the Impressionists, focusing on the people they painted and in particular the subjects of Degas, Caillebotte and the often forgotten Impressionist women artists. The Impressionists are famous for painting landscape but they were just as determined to paint people. Looking closely at the work of Edgar Degas, Waldemar reveals how he consistently challenged traditions and strove to record real life as it appeared in the city. Waldemar also reveals the unusual viewpoints and dramatic perspectives of Caillebotte's paintings from the Place de L'Europe and the rebellious and revolutionary art of Morisot, Bracquemond and Cassatt, three impressive female artists who were eagerly embraced by the progressive movement of Impressionism.
This episode takes a closer look at the late years of Impressionism, using the last show these artists did together as a starting point. Waldemar looks in considerable depth at the work of Georges Seurat, taking into consideration his academic training at the Beaux-Arts School in Paris and the artists that influenced him, such as Piero della Francesca and Puvis de Chavannes. There is also an insight into the complex but fascinating world of optics and art, and the ways in which the Impressionists were using the new discoveries in light and eyesight to influence their work. Van Gogh's time in Paris, a period very little is known about, is also covered, charting the incredible journey the artist made from his brown and dull canvases to the splendid colour and light that pervaded his work on the cusp of his departure for the South of France. The film finishes with a revisiting of Monet and his later waterlily paintings in the Orangerie in Paris.
- Video Codec: x264 CABAC
- Video Bitrate: 4000 Kbps
- Video Aspect Ratio: 1.777:1
- Video Resolution: 1280x720
- Audio Codec: AAC
- Audio Bitrate: 128 Kbps ABR 48KHz
- Audio Channels: 2
- Run-Time: 59 mins
- Framerate: 25 FPS
- Number of Parts: 4
- Part Size: 1.72 MB
- Source: HDTV
- Encoded by: JungleBoy
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