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Friday, August 17, 2012

Simon Schama's Power of Art

This BBC production is definitely the best documentary of art.

I've seen Simon Schama's other documentaries, but, this one really stands out.

His use of words is mesmerising, and as a presenter, he is superb, I think, on a par with David Attenborough and Richard Dawkins.

There are eight artists in the series, focusing on one painting by each of them.

Caravaggio's David with the Head of Goliath.
Bernini's Ecstasy of St Theresa.
Rembrandt's Conspiracy of Claudius .
David's The Death Of Marat.
Turner's The Slave Ship.
Vincent van Gogh's Wheat Field with Crows.
Picasso's Guernica.
Mark Rothko's Seagram Murals

As an art historian, he obviously possesses tons of knowledge of art. What I like here is, he seems to have chosen paintings that convey the dark side of human existence.

Here, he isn't interested in 'beautiful' paintings. His focus is on the inner struggles of the artists.

The best example is David's 'The Death Of Marat'.
He didn't pick up some of his outstanding paintings, like, 'Napoleon Crossing the Alps'.
The former is much much darker than the latter, and truly represents his inner emotions.
I like that.
By the way, both of the paintings are currently on display at NGV.

Also, Turner's 'The Slave Ship'. Who would have thought of that particular painting!

I like all the episodes, particularly, Caravaggio, van Gogh and Rothko.

Here's my favourite quote from the story of Vincent van Gogh.

"His art would reclaim what had once belonged to religion - consolation for our mortality through the relish of the gift of life.
It wasn't the art crowd he was after; he wanted was to open the eyes and the hearts of everyone who saw his paintings.
I feel he got what he wanted."

This is from Mark Rothko.

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