This award-winning series reveals the full and fascinating stories behind famous works of art, not just how they were created, but also how they influenced others and came to have a life of their own in the modern world.
Whereas other volumes in the series hone in on famous tableaux, this particular volume focuses on famous sculptures. The stories behind three masterpieces of European sculpture are recounted in this trio of documentaries, which begins with the history of the world’s most recognizable stone statue: Michelangelo’s young Israelite king David. Edgar Degas courts controversy and even ridicule for his wax sculpture of a Little Dancer Aged 14, and Auguste Rodin’s The Kiss depicts a doomed love affair described in Dante’s Inferno.
Fulmar Television and Film is the originator of some of British television’s most inventive and celebrated arts formats. These include The Private Life of A Masterpiece strand for the BBC, which is probably the most widely viewed arts strand ever made by the BBC. It has been shown in every country in Europe, North America, Middle East and most of the nations in Asia and South America.
A Fulmar Television and Film Production for BBC Wales & BBC Two
Part 1: Michelangelo’s David
This episode reveals the techniques Michelangelo used to re-create the human body so accurately on such a vast scale, and how contrasting interpretations view it as a symbol of either military might or of freedom.
Michelangelo’s David is one of the marvels of Renaissance art, yet was carved from a block of marble that was so shallow that two other master sculptors had declared it unusable. The programme tells just how Michelangelo cracked the problems and how his statue came to symbolise much more than David’s victory over Goliath.
Part 2: Little Dancer by Degas
This documentary demonstrates how Degas broke every rule in the book to create his modern masterpiece and also tells the poignant life story of the sculpture’s model.
The statue of the young girl in a real ballet dress is often seen today just as a pretty image of dancer making one of the classic moves of ballet. But to the people who first saw the statue when it was unveiled it was a dangerous, even disgraceful, portrayal of a degenerate girl little more than a whore. The programme reveals the story of the real woman who Degas used as a model and includes revelations about how the statue as actually made.
Part 3: The Kiss by Rodin
This film re-creates the studio in which Rodin developed his sensual piece and also includes archive footage of the sculpture wrapped in string by artist Cornelia Parker.
Rodin’s The Kiss is arguably the most sensual sculpture in the art of the past 150 years. Its subject matter is more daring that most people understand: A it portrays a girl seducing a man. The sculpture has been controversial right up to the 21st century.