By delving into the story of Cezanne's Card Players, Waldemar Januszczak uncovers the key influences that inspired this piece. In exploring both Cezanne's Provencal roots and his deep religious fervour, Waldemar seeks to unearth what it is that makes Cezanne's Card Players so powerful and intense. From the everyday people Cezanne interacted with, to the collective Provencal reverence to which their patron saint, Mary Magdalene, was treated - all these elements coalesced to create a painting brimming with meaning and emotion.
How much do we really know about van Gogh's iconic Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear? In this film, Waldemar Januszczak draws out the untold stories hidden in the painting. It is a tale of geisha's, brothels, bullfights, love affairs, suffering and a fiery relationship with Gauguin. Investigation of this famous work, emblematic of his time in the south of France, reveals the extent of the artists personal demons and the profound effect this had on his work.
The Vision After the Sermon is a haunting painting full of symbolism and mystery. But what does Paul Gauguin's famous work have to do with a 17-year-old girl called Madeleine, Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, and sumo wrestlers? Waldemar Januszczak unveils all in his investigation of Gauguin's religious epic about good and evil, temptation and desire.
Decoding this tension-packed painting requires searching beyond the artist's contemporaries and exploring little-known tales from Greek mythology.
The ravishing goddess emerging from the sea turns out to be far more than the Renaissance's most famous sex symbol.
Presenter Waldemar Januszczak asks why is Rembrandt's painting, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp, so great. In the 17th century, the Dutch developed a passion for public dismemberment. Dissections became a public event that would last from three to five days. Born in 1609 and moving to Amsterdam in 1631, Dr Tulp was an ambitious man who commissioned the newly arrived Rembrandt to paint this picture of one of his anatomy lessons mounted in 1632 by the Surgeons' Guild. The painting made Rembrandt's reputation and he went on to paint some of Amsterdam's finest people.
There is great controversy about the meaning and symbolism of Giorgione's 'The Tempest' and presenter Waldemar Januszczak believes he's cracked the artist's code. Giorgione is one of art history's most mysterious painters and his 'The Tempest' is one of the world's most mysterious paintings.
Program host Januszczak wonders about the mystery of Mona Lisa's elusive identity and that of her smile. Even her eyebrows are mysterious. Why doesn't she have any? Januszczak is able, however, to solve the mystery of why this painting has become the most famous painting in the world.
The Portrait of Mr & Mrs Andrews is one of Thomas Gainsborough's early masterpieces. Born in 1727, Gainsborough was the youngest of 9 children. His father was a cloth merchant and the boy's exposure to the details of velvet, wool and silk are reflected in the intricacy of the clothes people wear in the artist's portraits.
The presenter thinks that the real story behind "The Birth of Venus" is to be found in Hesiod's Theogeny where Venus is said to be the nautical fruit of Uranus's frothing testicles. In Botticelli's painting Venus isn't born out of the sea. She arrives on land which is full of sprouting flowers and trees. Therefore it is likely that this was a painting commissioned in honour of the arrival of another fertile bride in the Medici family.
Program host Januszczak interprets the painting called The Arnolfini Marriage with the help of art historians.
The art critic Januszczak introduces Manet's Le dejeuner sur l'herbe by explaining that in 1863, when it was painted, slavery was abolished in the United States, and the Red Cross founded in Switzerland. He then proceeds to speak about Edouard Manet's family, his father Auguste, who was a wealthy judge, and his mother, who came from an aristocratic background.
Well-known art critic Waldemar Januszczak explores the myths behind and origins of some of the world's most famous and beautiful paintings. Who is the mysterious "Mona Lisa", and how did she come to feature in the most famous painting in the world? What is the disturbing moral of Rembrandt's "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp"? And how does Botticelli's representation of the goddess of love in "The Birth of Venus" reflect the bloody drama of high Renaissance Florence?
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