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September 27, 2008

The Impressionists - Another Video Series

This post goes along with my last post, also on a video series about the Impressionists. The videos shown here are taken from a different TV program, a BBC series called The Impressionists produced in 2006. I would very much love to see the whole thing, but I'll take what I can get for free. This is fun to watch even though it consists of selected scenes, far from the entire original program.

The person who uploaded these videos to YouTube says that the scenes he's chosen for this particular video are "mainly about the paintings and painters doing their work."

The series is about Monet, Degas, Renoir, and Bazille...and Manet. (Manet was a realist painter who knew and had a big influence on the Impressionists), and Cezanne (post-Impressionist painter). Everything is seen from the point of view of Monet as an old man looking back while being interviewed at his home in Giverny.

The original series consisted of three one-hour programs, the first about Manet's influence on the Impressionists, the second focusing on Degas, and the third on Cezanne (a post-Impressionist painter).

These videos do not have the dialogue on them, but who cares -- They are beautiful. There is good background music, and since we have a good idea of who the people being played are (we know they're Impressionists, we recognize their paintings), and where they are (France), it's possible to follow along and enjoy this even though we can't hear anyone talking. Although they are actors, we get to watch the artists "painting" these pictures we know so well.

Hoping that a lot of good research was done before doing the filming, I like to think that I'm seeing more or less how it really was back then -- getting more of an idea than I had before at least. To see the train chugging along through the French countryside with steam pouring out, and inside the train an artist sketching a fellow passenger, for instance, brings the time to life.

It's interesting to see the world in which these artists lived and their relationships with each other (and their families) rather than just imagining each one of them as a person contained inside their clothing with no relationship with anything outside themselves (as one appears in a typical portrait). We see the artists trudging out into the woods, for instance, setting up their easels, wearing what I would consider "too nice" of clothes to be painting in. There's lots of squeezing of big blobs of paint onto palettes -- Looks expensive. Painting at the seashore, at a lake, etc. Their families very much a part of their lives.  I'm sure these scenes were made at the actual places where they happened, and it's wonderful to "be there" and have it seem so real.


(There is no dialog in these - just the background music)

Part 1 - The Impressionists BBC Series (2006)
My notes on this are below the video

MY NOTES ON THIS VIDEO: Manet's pictures are wonderful but they don't seem to fit in here, especially the ones of people being shot. But I remember that he wasn't one of the Impressionists.  Lots of squeezing of paint onto palettes. Painting at the seashore. At a lake.

Part Two - The Impressionists BBC Series (2006)
My notes on this are below the video

MY NOTES ON THIS VIDEO: Degas. Ballet dancers. Renoir. Monet.  Monet got up to paint the sunrise, wearing his nightshirt, but the paints were all ready on the palette, imagine that, and not dried up. Outside in a poppy field with Madame Monet and their son in a little hat.  Now and then when they're painting you get an idea of how they painted, even though these are actors. Renoir again, then Degas.

Cezanne again.  And so on. Very pleasant looking at the scenery, the people, and the paintings. Even the train station in Paris painted by Monet (and from which he no doubt took the train to paint out in the country).  Besides paintings, pastels by Degas. Monet painting his wife on her deathbed.  A few more paintings by Bazille near the end of this one.

Part Three - The Impressionists BBC Series (2006)
My notes on this are below the video

MY NOTES ON THIS VIDEO: In this one it shows an actor playing Cezanne. The finished paintings have the title and name of the artist. You can see how the scenes he painted look now from the same viewpoints.  Monet is also in this one, with his wife and her little parasol, and the haystacks. The cathedral. If we had inspirational music like that playing as we worked, we might make some great paintings, too! Monet, his garden, the water lilies.....the curved bridge reflected in the pond. Monet now an old man with a long white beard.

This video is from a trailer made while the series was still being filmed. There are bits of several scenes, and it includes not only background music but also the dialogue.
THE IMPRESSIONISTS (Work in progress trailer)

Here are comments by the person who uploaded this video: "The picture is still ungraded, the sound unmixed and the music itself is from other movies. It also contains shots and scenes which were eventually taken off the final cut (Monet screaming, various lines from old Monet...and a steam train from the wrong period, just to mention a few). It is divided in various sections: one about Monet, one about Manet, Degas and Cezanne."

Here is a longer trailer, with the same comments (see just above) by the person who uploaded this video to YouTube:
THE IMPRESSIONISTS (Work in Progress) Long Trailer


Here is a good review of the series on The Impressionists, and a link to price comparisons if you're interested in buying the DVD.

Frédéric Bazille, French Impressionist painter - 1841-1870

Paul Cezanne - French Post-Impressionist painter, 1839-1906

Edgar Degas
French Realist/Impressionist Painter and Sculptor, 1834-1917

Edouard Manet, French Realist/Impressionist Painter, 1832-1883

Claude Monet, French Impressionist Painter, 1840-1926

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French Impressionist Painter, 1841-1919

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Ambient DVD said...

The Impressionists are probably my favorite artists. I like Cezanne myself. I found a pretty cool company that sells DVDs of impressionist artists. Now I have a whole gallery of impressionist art right at my fingertips!

Jean Vincent said...

Could that company be, possibly, Ambient DVD? If not, which company is it?

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