Monday, November 28, 2011

BBC Video on Russian Art

In 2009, Andrew Graham-Dixon produced a marvelous 3-hour documentary on Russian art for the BBC.

Here’s the bit about Ilya Repin.

Watch the full episodes:
Part 1, Out of the Forest (Icons, Ivan the Terrible, and Peter the Great).
Part 2. Smashing the Mould (includes the material on Repin and the Itinerants).
Part 3. Revolutionary Russia (Lenin, Stalin, and more).


Phil Moss said...

They've been showing the Art of (insert country here) series almost back to back on BBC4 here in Old Blighty - Andrew Graham-Dixon is a great documentary maker, his programme on reliquaries, the art of Germany and this, the art of Russia, being the best to date for me. They showed the art of America last week, very interesting - his opinion of Norman Rockwell wasn't great I'm afraid - though I think we was looking for 'art' in the work of an illustrator.
These programmes are best for picking up on artists for their artistic ideas and devices - such as Repin, Rockwell etc - where we often only look for technique and execution.
I often forget that Joe Public can ignore technical mastery over an image with soul - and perhaps rightly so eh?

James Gurney said...

Phil, yes, A.G-D. has tremendous on-camera appeal, but as an art historian, he seems to be predisposed toward political and revolutionary art, as if he is driven by the assumption that traditional realism, especially if it conveys states of joy or reverie, is somehow vacuous. It's also too bad that the great Russian landscape painters, particularly Shishkin, didn't figure into his narrative. From what I can see at this distance, Shishkin is at least as beloved to the Russian people as Repin.

Mary Bullock said...

I love Repin and Shishkin!!!

Anonymous said...

"Comrades, arise, free yourselves from the tyranny of objects"

Kazimir Malevich

Wow. That was an epiphany regarding the political substratum of abstract art.

Phil Moss said...

Your not wrong James - they showed the last of the 'America' series last night, the closing statement was along the lines of 'the age of optimism is over' with the twin towers in the background... which I think was a bit of a sweeping statement at the very least and sensationalist at most :)
It's true, a lot of it is politically driven - perhaps that's how they got around pitching a series of juicey art programmes - it's good to see work in context though.
The Rockwell scenes showed that he didn't know his history in that regard though (not knowing they were magazine covers) - I wouldn't be surprised to know that these episodes are perhaps breezed through with him making the best of the material.
Still, his charm is bringing great art on to the small screen in a very watchable way. A great watch, and they've introduced me to new artists, and made me look at old artists in a new light. And it's either him, or Rolph Harris ;)