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The Private Life of a Masterpiece: The Complete Seasons 1-5 (2008)

Richard Cork , Douglas Druick , Judith Winnan , Lucie Donahue  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

List Price: $99.98
Price: $79.32 & FREE Shipping. Details
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The Private Life of a Masterpiece: The Complete Seasons 1-5 + Art of the Western World + Simon Schama's Power of Art
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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Cork, Douglas Druick, Samuel West
  • Directors: Judith Winnan, Lucie Donahue, Michael Burke, Mick Gold
  • Writers: Russell Davies
  • Producers: Judith Winnan, Lucie Donahue, Michael Burke, Mick Gold, Clare Lynch
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: Unknown
  • Number of discs: 7
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 8, 2008
  • Run Time: 1078 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0011V7PSW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,862 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Private Life of a Masterpiece: The Complete Seasons 1-5" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

This 7 DVD/18 hour award-winning series reveals the full and fascinating stories behind some of the most famous works of art of all time. Behind the beautiful canvases and sculptures are tales of revolution, wartime escapes, ego clashes, scandal, financia

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
105 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Fascinating March 17, 2008
By JEP
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have seen but a few episodes of this series on the Ovation network. Those few hours were absolutely fascinating. As someone who knows the merest sliver about art, this series taught me so much. What each episode does is focus on one important work of art, like Michaelangelo's "David," and discusses the artist and the art. It shows the development of the piece, the history of the artist, the history of the piece, why it's important, and, most importantly, what you might want to look for if you could see the actual piece.

This is the exciting type of information you would want to know if you went strolling through a museum. Instead of zipping past a piece of art, you'd know to stop and what to look for. Now this may sound dull and dry, but this series (again, at least the few episodes I saw...and rewatched) is amazingly addictive because of its casual narrative, brimming with tons of fascinating information.

I've ordered this set and can't wait to soak it all up. Highly recommended. You'll learn so much.
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103 of 105 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best series yet! November 11, 2008
Format:DVD
As professor of Art History I have previewed dozens of art documentaries. This series stands above the others due to its format (40 min. in depth on one work), good overview of other works by the artists, great historical background to put the work in context, and demonstrations of the working process of the artist. I only wish there were more!
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65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Facinating and Fun! June 5, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a BBC series that devotes each hour episode to a single work of art - but in a fun, engaging, and interesting way. I read a glowing review of it in Entertainment Weekly and was not disappointed in the least. This is an absolutely *must have* for anyone who has an artistic interest and wants to better understand why some works of art are considered masterpieces, what their historical context is, the life of the person who created them, and what has happened to them - physically, culturally - from their creation to now.
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67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant series February 19, 2010
By Serai
Format:DVD
Here is a list of the episodes, which I found on the web. I hope it's useful to anyone thinking about buying this collection.

Disc One: Renaissance Masterpieces
* "Sandro Botticelli: La Primavera"
* "Paolo Uccello: The Battle of San Romano"
* "Leonardo Da Vinci: The Last Supper"
* "Pierro della Francesca: The Resurrection"

Disc Two: Seventeenth Century Masters
* "Rembrandt van Rijn: The Night Watch"
* "Johannes Vermeer: The Art of Painting"
* "Diego Velazquez: The Rokeby Venus"

Disc Three: Masterpieces 1800-1850
* "Francisco Goya: The Third of May 1808"
* "Eugene Delacroix: Liberty Leading the People"
* "Katsushika Hokusai: The Great Wave"

Disc Four: Masterpieces 1851-1900
* "Edouard Manet: Le Dejeuner Sur L'Herbe"
* "James McNeill Whistler: Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Artist's Mother"
* "Edvard Munch: The Scream"

Disc Five: Impressionism and the Post-Impressionists
* "Auguste Renoir: Dance at the Moulin de la Galette"
* "Vincent Van Gogh: The Sunflowers"
* "Georges Seurat: A Sunday on La Grande Jatte 1884"

Disc Six: Masterpieces of the Twentieth Century
* "Pablo Picasso: Les Demoiselles d'Avignon"
* "Gustav Klimt: The Kiss"
* "Salvador Dali: Christ of St. John on the Cross"

Disc Seven: Masterpieces of Sculpture
* "Michelangelo: David"
* "Edgar Degas: Little Dancer Aged 14"
* "Auguste Rodin: The Kiss"

I agree with the others who've posted comments here. This is a wonderful series, full of engaging information on each piece it examines.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye Candy for the Art Lover October 27, 2008
Format:DVD
I bought this after seeing one of the episodes on TV on Bravo or Showcase up in Canada. I was just flipping through channels, "what is this?". Then I waited for it to show up on Amazon.com, not just .uk.
I'm no art major, but I have taken a couple art history classes, and this went into details that put a psycho-social connection to a painting, rather than just studying the brushwork. Each episode feels like a chapter of an artists story that you get a glimpse into, if only for a blink of an eye.
BBC as always does a fantastic job of putting it all together. They've got several art historians who review the paintings, so you listen to a few interpretations. I also appreciated how they show the modern day take of the painting.
I've yet to finish them all, but so far I'm very happy with my purchase.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful series! April 10, 2009
By Sabine
Format:DVD
This is a wonderful series that I highly recommend. The focus is on one painting per artist but one learns not only the specifics of each painting but about the artist, the time in which he lived and technique.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An uneven series January 15, 2012
Format:DVD
I am another professor of art history who has reviewed many films and television videos in search of material that could be used profitably in the classroom. The individual segments of The Private Life of a Masterpiece series are uneven. The one devoted to Rembrandt's Nightwatch is exceptionally good--both the handling of historical questions and the explanation of its importance to Dutch national identity. The film is fun, interesting and informative (in large part thanks to the top-notch education department of the Rijksmuseum). The segment devoted to Botticelli's Primavera is quite bad. In this case the editors appear to have had little confidence in the serious views of the scholars who were consulted and chose instead to treat the painting as a bit of Renaissance smut. I would not recommend buying the whole box set.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Art at Its Finest!
This is such an interesting series! You not only learn about the artist and the work of art created but also where he was when he created his work! Read more
Published 24 days ago by Carla D. Garber
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything you always wanted to know about art and now you don't have...
Although I may never get to physically see Vermeer's exquisite, "The Art of Painting," viewing the painting on the DVD, The Private Life of a Masterpiece, with the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by irene miano
5.0 out of 5 stars unique way to approach the history of artistic work
If you've seen the BBC series this DVD box set offers nothing new. It's just all the episodes in one set--no extras at all. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Brian Maitland
1.0 out of 5 stars Not oke
By mistake I odered from Amazon Us instead of Uk. Because of the different region-code in Europe (I live in Belgium) the dvd's wont play and therefor my brandnew box is useless. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Dominique
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are a fan of BBC and art, you will love this collection.
In typical BBC fashion, this series is very well done. The videography and narrarative are just what you would expect from BBC. Tasteful and informative. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Miles A. Merrell
1.0 out of 5 stars Be Forewarned
While this HAD the potential of being a "masterpiece" on its own, be forewarned. The beginnings of many of the documentaries are marred by the intrusion of annoying "pop" or... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Donald Waits
4.0 out of 5 stars great but missing Christmas episode
I thought it was the complete series but there is a Christmas episode that does not appear to be in here. Otherwise, great!
Published 15 months ago by grace blando
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Taking an art history class next semester. This series was a great primer for that class. Interesting from beginning to end.
Published 16 months ago by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable documentaries.
Lots of historical backgrounds that I never knew about these masterpieces! Covered indepth details in history and great story line.
Published 16 months ago by Sunny
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring and pretentious.
Boring as #%%<}<>~>~>!!!!!! This series should be in book form, not DVD. After watching the compelling Sam Schama, Sister Wendy and the American Crafts... Read more
Published 17 months ago by d
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