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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

“There's no retirement for an artist, it's your way of living so there's no end to it.” - Henry Moore 


Lorenzo Lotto: Crispness and Clarity

Lorenzo Lotto - Allegory of Chastity ("Maiden's Dream”) - c. 1506 - Oil on panel, 43x34 cm - National Gallery of Art, Washington (click photo for larger image)Lorenzo Lotto (c. 1480 – 1556) was a Northern Italian painter draughtsman and illustrator, traditionally placed in the Venetian school. He painted mainly altarpieces, religious subjects and portraits. While he was active during the High Renaissance, he already constitutes, through his nervous and eccentric posings and distortions, a transitional stage to the first Florentine and Roman Mannerists of the 16th century. 

A young woman is seated on a grassy bank beside a pool of water. In the sky above her, a winged putto scatters small white flowers in her lap. In the lower right corner, a satyr reclines, pouring wine from a jar into his mouth, while opposite him a female satyr observes the scene. Behind a grove of trees the sun rises or sets over a distant mountain range.


Hans Holbein the Younger: Precise Rendering and Compelling Realism

Hans Holbein the Younger - The Artist's Family - 1528 - Oil on paper mounted on wood, 77x64 cm - Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel (click photo for larger image)Hans Holbein the Younger (c. 1497 – c. 1543) was a German painter, draftsman, and designer renowned for the precise rendering of his drawings and the compelling realism of his portraits, particularly those recording the court of King Henry VIII of England. 

Holbein dated this family portrait, which is painted on paper, in the bottom right-hand corner, but the last digit was lost when the figures were cut out round the outline later in the 16th century and subsequently stuck on a black-painted panel. Several considerations strongly suggest the portrait must date from 1528, shortly after Holbein's return from England: his son Philipp, born around 1522, is about six in the picture, and his daughter Katharina is hardly more than two; moreover, his children Jakob and Küngold, born around 1529 and 1530 respectively, are not present. The moving combination of resolution and frailty seen in this family portrait is unique in Holbein's production. The introverted mood of the work extends beyond the usual level of reticence in his English portraits.


Did You Know?

Artist Edgar Degas was so fascinated with ballet dancers that he became obsessed with representing them in his art. It is estimated Degas made approximately 1500 paintings, pastels, prints and drawings of dancers. 


Rogier Van Der Weyden: A Long Forgotten Master

Rogier van der Weyden - The Magdalene Reading - c. 1445 - Oil, transferred from wood to mahogany, 62x55 cm - National Gallery, London (click photo for larger image)Rogier van der Weyden (c. 1399 – 1464) was a Flemish painter who, with the possible exception of Jan van Eyck, was the most influential northern European artist of his time. Though most of his work was religious, he produced secular paintings (now lost) and some sensitive portraits. By the middle of the 19th century, his fame and art had all but been forgotten. Only through a meticulous research have scholars over the past century been able to reconstruct Rogier's work and restore his reputation as one of 15th-century Flanders' leading masters. 

This beautiful figure seated on a cushion reading a devotional book can be identified as Mary Magdalene by the jar at her side, in reference to the ointment with which she anointed Christ's feet (Luke 7:37-8). When the painting was cleaned in 1956 it was discovered that its dark uniform background, applied probably in the nineteenth century, had concealed the body of Saint Joseph holding a rosary, part of a window with a landscape view, and the foot and crimson drapery of another figure, identified as Saint John the Evangelist.