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Worth Watching
  • Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    A fascinating and highly entertaining look at one of the most important families of the Renaissance era--the Medici.
  • Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting / Grand Tour / Odyssey / Pains of Glass)
    Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting / Grand Tour / Odyssey / Pains of Glass)

    “Sister Wendy Beckett has transformed public appreciation of art through her astonishing knowledge, insight and passion for painting and painters.” This set includes Sister Wendy's Story of Painting, Sister Wendy's Odyssey, and Sister Wendy's Grand Tour. Simultaneously delightful and scholarly--this is a must have for anyone interested in art history.

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
    Exit Through the Gift Shop
    When British stencil artist Banksy traveled to Los Angeles to work, he came across obscure French filmmaker Thierry Guetta and his badly organized collection of videotapes involving the activities of graffiti artists. Inspired, Banksy assembled them with new footage to create this talked-about documentary, and the result is a mind-boggling and odd film (so strange as to be thought a hoax by some) about outsider artists and the definition of art itself.
  • The Impressionists
    The Impressionists
    A dramatization of the Impressionist movement as seen through the eyes of Claude Monet. Highly entertaining and informative.
  • The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    A very personal and revealing look at the personalities that created Impressionism.

Quote of the Day

“I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.” - Diego Rivera


Edouard Manet—Leading the Charge

Edouard Manet, The Absinthe Drinker, 1859, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, CopenhagenWhen Edouard Manet (1832-1883) began to paint genre (everyday) subjects, such as old beggars, street urchins, café characters, and Spanish bullfight scenes, he was challenging all of the standard of the Salon. Monet adopted a direct, bold brush technique in his treatment of realistic subject matter—which was bitterly attacked by his critics. In 1866, the French novelist Emile Zola, who championed the art of Manet in the newspaper Figaro, became a close friend of the painter. He was soon joined by the young group of French impressionist painters, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, and Paul Cezanne, who were influenced by Manet's art and who, in turn, influenced him! Together, they all dramtically changed the direction of art. But it was definitely Manet who led the charge.



Paul Cézanne - Montagne Sainte-Victoire, 1890-94, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh (click photo for larger image)Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) was a French painter, often dubbed “the father of modern art”. He strove to develop an ideal synthesis of naturalistic representation, personal expression, and abstract pictorial order. Among the artists of his day, Cézanne perhaps has had the most profound effect on the art of the twentieth century. He was the greatest single influence on both Henri Matisse, who admired his color, and Pablo Picasso, who—with Georges Braque—developed Cézanne's planar compositional structure into the cubist style. During the greater part of his own lifetime, Cézanne was largely ignored. He worked in isolation, mistrusted critics, had few friends, and, until 1895, exhibited only occasionally. He was alienated even from his family, who found his behavior peculiar and failed to appreciate his revolutionary art. Despite that, there is a gentleness and tenderness to much of Cézanne’s work. Though often described as “rustic” his art also embraces a great deal of refinement—such as the landscape featured here.


Did You Know?

Leonardo Da Vinci started painting the Mona Lisa in 1504 or 1505 and finished only shortly before he died in 1519. Some reports say that it took him 10 years to perfect Mona Lisa's lips. It should be noted, however, that he kept returning to the painting. It was not the only project he worked on during those 10 years.


Beccafumi: A Mannerist Sienese with a Modern Vision

Domenico Beccafumi - Mystical Marriage of St Catherine - c. 1521 - Oil on canvas, 220 x 205 cm - The Hermitage, St. Petersburg (click photo for larger image)Sienese Mannerist Domenico Beccafumi (1486-1551) took his name from a wealthy Sienese patron of the same name—who also had him apprenticed to a local painter. From the very beginning, Beccafumi's highly personal style was concerned with light: he made light vibrate to convey emotion or spiritual illumination. He achieved his effects through strong perspective and contrapposto, soft colors, and elongated, elaborately intertwined figures. Contrapposto refers to the twisting of the human figure on its own vertical axis. Like other of the Mannerists, Beccafumi would wield influence during the much later Modern era.