This Great Artists series from Kultur Films chronicles the lives, times, and works of the Dutch Masters, men whose genius has captivated the art world for generations.
Informative and entertaining, the series highlights important events in each artist’s life. It explores their stylistic trademarks, and provides detailed explanations of their techniques by leading authorities, art historians, and scholars.
DVD. 50 minutes each.
Bosch — Hieronymous Bosch was born in the Netherlands in 1450 and rose to international celebrity for his visionary paintings. He was particularly fascinated with depictions of hell and the temptations and sins that lead people down the path to self-destruction. Perhaps his most famous painting is The Garden of Earthy Delights. Filled with images of the Middle Ages, Bosch’s works are difficult to decipher, but still hold power for the modern viewer. Through interviews with scholars and art historians, this film presents the work of this artist about whom almost nothing is known.
Bruegel — Pieter Bruegel the Elder remains a mystery, as few details of his 16th century life are known. As an artist, he was greatly influenced and inspired by his great Dutch predecessor, Hieronymous Bosch. His work reveals typically Boschian themes, and he used a similar keen humor to convey his artistic message. Bruegel’s renowned works depicting the life of peasants are also examined in this documentary. He was one of the first masters of landscape painting, and his satirical drawings are as relevant today as in their own time. Bruegel’s religious works combine simplicity and depth in their spiritual message. Leading art historians and scholars give a glimpse at the life and work of this Dutch master painter.
Rembrandt — Some believe that Rembrandt’s famous series of self-portraits best demonstrate his genius as one of the greatest portraitists of all time. Painted over the course of his life, they reveal nothing less than Rembrandt himself. Other paintings shown in this film are group portraits, landscapes, and religious work. Many of these images were produced as etchings, confirming Rembrandt’s mastery of the line drawing as well as conveying the drama of great Biblical events.
Rubens — The artistry of Peter Paul Rubens is featured in this episode. Born in Antwerp in 1577, the young Rubens traveled extensively in Italy, soaking up the artistic achievements of the High Renaissance. He slowly became one of the most important Flemish painters of the 17th century. Prolific and renowned in his lifetime, he produced portraits, landscapes, and religious works, and spent his last 10 years painting mythological themes. Among these is The Judgment of Paris, considered by many to be his finest work.
Van Dyck — Anthony van Dyck was a pupil of Rubens, and followed his master’s example by traveling to Italy as part of his artistic training. Like Rubens, he found inspiration in the Venetian Renaissance masters Titian and Giorgione. Van Dyck’s work is characterized by an enthusiasm for rich colors and a remarkable ability to depict the texture of fabric. Focusing his attention on the art of the portrait, he was appointed Court Painter to the English King Charles in 1632. The portraits he produced provide unrivaled visual insights into the noble men and women of the day.
Vermeer — Born in 1632, only three dozen canvases survive from Johannes (Jan) Vermeer’s working life. A lifelong resident of the Dutch city of Delft, Vermeer chose as the first point of interest in his work the places and people of that city. He chose to depict scenes of ordinary, everyday life, which was unusual for the times. Vermeer is known for the calm and precise nature of his images, almost mathematical in their organization, and for his remarkable ability to depict the effects of light. Almost 200 years passed after his death before his status as a Dutch Master began to be fully recognized.
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