Wednesday, July 18, 2007

SIMON SCHAMA'S: POWER OF ART


History Nerds such as myself who mourn the death of Eugen Webber, or who thrill at a Keegan lecture are undoubtedly familiar with the fantastic work of Simon Schama. His series THE HISTORY of BRITAIN was nearly esquisite in its ability to entertain and inform. Not to be outdone, Schama has come out with an absolutely thrilling new series called: THE POWER OF ART.

My girlfriend and I accidentally stumbled onto the Carravaggio episode, and were riveted at the lunatic tales of these artists on the edge.

From the PBS website:

"In 1941, during the Nazi occupation of Paris, the Gestapo visited Pablo Picasso's Left Bank flat, where a member of the secret police spied a postcard of the artist's most famous work, Guernica. The giant mural memorialized Germany's 1937 aerial obliteration of a small Basque village. "Was it you who did this?" the Nazi demanded of Picasso, to which he replied, "No. It was you." In the eight-part SIMON SCHAMA'S POWER OF ART, internationally acclaimed scholar and writer Simon Schama recounts that story while challenging viewers with a typically provocative query: "Shouldn't art just stick to what it does best, the delivery of pleasure, and forget about being a paintbrush warrior? Or is it, when the bombs are dropping, that we find out what art is really for?"

If you think this is dramatic, you need only tune in to the series to see that this is par for the course. The Artist profiled and their definitive works are as follow:

* Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) and Wheatfield With Crows, (Pictured above with Andy Sirkis as Vincent)

* Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and Guernica,

* Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) and David With the Head of Goliath,

* Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) and The Ecstasy of St. Theresa,

* Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) and The Conspiracy of the Batavians Under Claudius Civilis,

* Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) and The Death of Marat,

* J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) and Slave Ship (Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, Typhoon Coming On),

* Mark Rothko (1903-1970) and the Seagram murals.

After watching the Jacques Louis David episode, I have an all new appreciation for a painting I had always ...admired (?)
If you are into Art, watch it. If you are into History, watch it. If you are into Love, Violence, Politics, Intrigue, Sex, Death, and LIFE, watch it!

I have found the following Episodes online (If you find more, let me know!):


Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) and The Ecstasy of St. Theresa


Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) and The Conspiracy of the Batavians Under Claudius Civilis



Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) and David With the Head of Goliath (TOTALLY INSANE!)

1 comment:

b said...

This is such a great series and how I came across your blog. I saw the van Gogh and part of Bernini but the episode on David really struck me most powerfully. Perhaps it is due in large to my love of France. Incredible stuff. Thanks for the links to online episodes. I'll have to check those out.

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