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Category:    Home > Reviews > Art > Painting > Sculpture > Documentary > Culture > Private Life Of A Masterpiece – The Complete Seasons One Through Five (BBC DVD)

Private Life Of A Masterpiece – The Complete Seasons One Through Five (BBC DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Episodes: B



For all the interest and big money involved in canvas paintings and sculptures, we have received few DVD releases on the subject in what is coming to be our first five years, but it is always interesting when one arrives and Private Life Of A Masterpiece – The Complete Seasons One Through Five is not just a history or scientific analysis, but actually tries to tell us that the art is good (often without going into detail, the series big flaw) and even tracks the ownership and location of each work.


The classics featured are as follows:


Sandro Botticelli – La Primavera

Paolo Uccello – The Battle Of San Romano

Leonardo Da Vinci – The Last Supper

Piero Della Francesca – The Resurrection

Francisco Goya – The Third Of May 1808

Eugene Delacroix – Liberty Leading The People

Katsushika Hokusai – The Great Wave

Edouard Manet – Le Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe

James McNeill Whistler – Portrait OF The Artist’s Mother (aka Whistler’s Mother)

Edvard Munch – The Scream

Auguste Renoir – Dance At Le Moulin De La Galette

Vincent Van Gogh – The Sunflowers

Georges Seurat – A Sunday On La Grande Jatte – 1884

Pablo Picasso – Les Demoiselles d’Avignon

Gustav Klimt – The Kiss

Salvador Dali – Christ Of St. John Of The Croix

Michaelangelo – David

Edgar Degas – The Little Dancer Aged 14

Auguste Rodin – The Kiss



Though it does not offer the more direct engagement of Simon Schama’s Power Of Art (another BBC DVD set reviewed elsewhere on this site) and can go off into flat directions at times, but the way the art is featured makes up for this and each of the three hour-long programs are on a DVD with a theme.  Each show offers narration and multiple interviews, meaning when you add the images, you get a crash course in the arts work your time.


The various aspect ratios (1.33, anamorphic 1.78) are all over the discs, but look good throughout and the widescreen ones look slightly brighter than they should in many shots.  It is amazing the good color on the original works, versus the endless, dreadful copies you see since their debut.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is more consistent and clear throughout, with good location audio and editing.  There are no extras, but this comes in a very nice slidecase in the form of a DigiPak-like book where each DVD is on its own page, making for a nice gift presentation.


For more, try Simon Schama’s Power Of Art at this link:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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