CFP: “The private life of a masterpiece” Art History Supplement, July 2013

CFP: “The private life of a masterpiece” Art History Supplement, July 2013

Full submission deadline: June 15, 2013


British television has had already created a “tradition” in art history documentary and show production, including scenes in sitcoms. “Civilization” or “Ways of seeing”, for instance, are just two prominent examples, which both of them have encouraged talks, symposia, and several screenings inside a museum or a gallery.

The private life of a masterpiece” had also been indeed quite an interesting television program, according to The Times’ TV critic David Chater, broadcasted on BBC Two. From 2001 to 2010 it had recorded 29 episodes exploring the life of works of art, revealing that way a certain story of masterpieces – objects. The twenty-nine episodes included, in order of appearance: Michelangelo: David, Edvard Munch: The Scream, Édouard Manet: Le déjeuner sur l’herbe, Diego Velázquez: The Rokeby Venus, Auguste Rodin: The Kiss, Francisco Goya: The Third of May 1808, Auguste Renoir: Bal au moulin de la Galette, Montmartre, Rembrandt van Rijn: The Night Watch, Sandro Botticelli: La Primavera, James McNeill Whistler: Whistler’s Mother, Vincent van Gogh: Sunflowers, Edgar Degas: La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans, Pablo Picasso: Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, Katsushika Hokusai: The Great Wave, Georges Seurat: A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Gustav Klimt: The Kiss, Eugène Delacroix: Liberty Leading the People, Johannes Vermeer: The Art of Painting, Paolo Uccello: The Battle of San Romano,  Leonardo da Vinci: The Last Supper, Salvador Dalí: Christ of Saint John of the Cross, Piero della Francesca: The Resurrection, Jan van Eyck: The Annunciation, Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Census At Bethlehem, Paul Gauguin: God’s Child, Caravaggio: The Taking Of Christ, Sandro Botticelli: The Mystic Nativity, Rogier van der Weyden: The Descent from the Cross, Filippo Lippi: The Adoration of the Christ Child.

According to artwork titles included within the show, if we had been to understand the notion of “masterpiece”, there is only one “masterpiece outside the western canon and masterpiece are generally paintings as there are two sculptures included. In addition, architecture, on the other hand, had been left outside the “masterpiece” canon. While, the chronology had been ranged from early renaissance to modern times. The series was produced by independent TV production company Fulmar Television & Film, based in Cardiff. Further, the series producer, who also devised the concept of the programme, was Jeremy Bugler. Whose notion of “masterpiece” and art history are we contemplating on? The producer, the director, the presenter, the art history research team behind the screen and the audience itself could be well considered responsible; each one by oneself, in several combinations, or all together at the same time. What is the art history paradigm presented on the show? What is the scholarship (-s) being presented in the series, or in various episodes? What is the current (academic) research on objects – leading actors broadcasted? How large had been its audience and which cultures were represented in it? These are just some topics accepted for discussion in our forthcoming issue of Art History Supplement, but certainly are not limited to. Aspects of any other art history, fiction or non-fiction, TV broadcast based on concrete examples are also more than welcome.


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