Andrew Graham-Dixon examines the history of French art, revealing how it emerged from a struggle between tradition and revolution, and rulers and citizens. He compresses centuries of culture into three thematically linked chapters.
This 3 part series is presented by the British Art Critic, Andrew Graham-Dixon. He explores the Low Countries of the Netherlands and Belgium and how history has influenced the area's art, ... See full summary »
Solid Account of a Little-Known Area of European Art History
In contrast to many of his previous series, Andrew Graham-Dixon starts his analysis of Scandinavian art at something of a disadvantage; there are not many painters from the region who have achieved the kind of global fame that would guarantee record attendances at blockbuster exhibitions.
In Norwegian art, perhaps the only really well-known painter is Edvard Munch, most famous for his image of "The Scream." Perhaps wisely, Graham-Dixon book-ended his analysis with that painting, providing both an introduction and a conclusion.
As we watched the indefatigable presenter tramping across seemingly endless expanses of Norwegian landscape, we had to admire his persistence, not only in digging out lesser-known examples of Norwegian painting, but relating most of the artists' preoccupations to the world around them. Perhaps more so than other national art histories, Norway's often deserted yet breathtaking vistas have had a profound effect on the ways in which their artists think and feel.
"The Scream" is but one example. Although the image has become canonical, reproduced in a variety of forms worldwide, it has a culture-specific significance. Graham-Dixon patiently explained it to viewers, while making us aware of the painting's greatness as a response to everyday life, as well as its inspiration in the work of artists working in other media such as Munch's fellow-Norwegian Henrik Ibsen.
Perhaps more so than any other arts and culture presenter, Graham- Dixon has a unique ability to combine enthusiasm, knowledge and sheer joy in his subjects. Even if viewers know little, if anything about Norwegian art, they can enjoy his approach to presenting it.
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