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Nova: Mystery of a Masterpiece

. , David Murdock  |  NR |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

Nova: Mystery of a Masterpiece + Leonardo's Lost Princess: One Man's Quest to Authenticate an Unknown Portrait by Leonardo Da Vinci
Price for both: $32.96

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Product Details

  • Actors: .
  • Directors: David Murdock
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS (DIRECT)
  • DVD Release Date: February 28, 2012
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006JN87MK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,089 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

NOVA meets a new breed of experts who are approaching "cold case" art mysteries as if they were crime scenes, determined to discover "who committed the art," and follows art sleuths as they deploy new techniques to combat the multi-billion dollar criminal market in stolen and fraudulent art.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(9)
4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece Forensics April 14, 2012
Verified Purchase
Very interesting -- revealing the exhaustive and detailed process that can be embraced to determine the authenticity of a painting. The high-tech tools used in the analysis are interesting in themselves.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Believe the Unbelievable August 13, 2012
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This DVD presents an incredibly compelling and convincing forensic argument and explanation, that a previously unknown and unrecognized "painting" of Leonardo da Vinci has recently been discovered - by the discerning "eye" and mind of an art dealer that confounded even the supposed art experts at a prestigious international auction house.

Presumably, the art experts at the international auction house have put their liability insurers on notice.

The claim presented in this DVD is so staggering and, psychologically, incomprehensible, that the art world has yet to assimilate or accept its import. Yet this claim is so utterly convincing that the owner of this portrait has allegedly already received an unsolicited, eighty million dollar (U.S. $ 80 million) offer for the purchase of this seemingly "priceless" painting, an offer which the owner declined.

The bidding has started - with an unsolicited bid!

This intriguing world-class art "find" contains other compelling attributes, e.g., if this portrait is in fact by Da Vinci, this is Da Vinci's only recognized work executed on vellum. The work is also executed in pastel. Da Vinci is known in the art world for his experimental and varied methods and mediums in executing his artwork - indeed, one of Da Vinci's most famous of his incredibly famous works, the "Last Supper," has deteriorated to near-total destruction due to Da Vinci's experimental medium in executing this work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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I am an avid fan of PBS and specifically Nova. I find that their documentaries and reports are well researched, well written and edited in a format that is both educational and intriguing.

The Nova: Mystery of a Masterpiece did not disappoint. I had read the original article in National Geographic regarding the mystery of La Bella Principessa (The Beautiful Princess), which is a portrait done in colored chalk and ink on vellum. Many of the details have lead several experts, including Martin Kemp to believe that this was an artwork of Leonardo da Vinci. I looked forward to seeing the Nova presentation.

The documentary gives both sides of the story with several experts testifying as to why they believe and why they do not believe that the piece could be done by da Vinci. It shows the forensic work which was done in order to look at the individual layers of the drawing, the damage done when removing it from a larger tome of material, the left handed brush strokes and several other interesting details.

After watching the video, I persuaded my wife (an art teacher for 5th grade students) to watch the video as well. After watching it, we immediately purchased the video so that she could show it to her classes. Her classes have been enthralled with the mystery of the picture and how they go about attempting to prove that it is a da Vinci portrait. They are often disappointed to find out that there is no definitive answer to the question "Is this truly a da Vinci work" but she incorporates that into her lesson and allows them to debate whether or not they think it is.

I would recommend this video to anyone interesting in Nova, da Vanci, art history or art forensics. Also, I would recommend it to any teachers looking for a video which shows some of the scientific method or an art teacher looking to share some art history and information with their students.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating exposition July 29, 2012
By Laz
Verified Purchase
A very well done documentary, and I find the evidence supporting the notion the drawing is a Leonardo convincing, and the counterarguments well refuted. Granted, this is a video being watched on a TV, but I've seen enough da Vinci originals in person up close to "know."
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5.0 out of 5 stars An art whodunit for everyone September 17, 2014
This episode is a joint National Geographic-Nova effort that explores the process of tracking down the provenance, the origins, of a piece of art that was originally listed as an early 19th Century drawing by an unknown German artist. It didn't look like one to one expert, who bought it with the idea of showing that it was something much more.
He pegged the style as Italian and the subject, a young woman, certainly wasn't dressed in 19th Century garb. But could it really be an undiscovered work by Leonardo da Vinci?
We follow the experts, who include an expert on Leonardo, another who's an expert forger, experts on the time when Leonardo lived, and several whose skills include the scientific testing of art, a forensic approach to tracing an art object.
Along the way we find people who are convinced of the possibility that it is indeed a work of da Vinci, and others who are skeptical, some very skeptical. One by one, the various tests fail to prove that it cannot be a da Vinci.
Is it really a da Vinci? Perhaps. Nothing proved it otherwise, but there is always that doubt. If you like a good whodunit and would like something different from the usual fictitious search for the blunt instrument that "done in the victim"; if you like art and really understand it (or not -- I'm no artist, and my tastes are the usual run-of-the-mill "Hey, I like that one!) you may very well enjoy this exploration into the world of art. I have done that several times now.
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