"My wife and I love Impressionism. We have several art books on the topic, and we saw the massive exhibit in Washington, D.C., in 1986 (from which we're still recovering!), and a more recent one at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth.BUT ... we learned so much in this DVD set (which I gave to my wife as a Christmas present) that we had not read/learned anywhere else: there is a lot of information about the artists' personal lives, family problems, quarrels with each other, their failing health and deaths, etc., that is almost as fascinating as the paintings themselves -- which are simply LUMINOUS in this presentation. The only disappointment is the limited "extras" and the limited number of paintings in the gallery extra -- perhaps a reason to downrate this to 4 stars. But ... I'll keep it at 5."
Luminous & Brilliant - A Must See For ALL Art Lovers
RHC | 10/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A&E's special on The Impressionists is Luminous. Principle writer and director Bruce Alfred illustrates the revolutionary, artistic impulses of a brilliant young group of painters who feverishly worked together to break the confines of 19th century traditional painting. Alfred fuses together the historical context of 19th century art Europe with delightfully animated biographies of the Impressionist artists.
In 1859, Claude Monet, the youthful, rebellious, dazzlingly artistic, fame-seeking leader of the group burst forth onto the Parisian scene like balefire. Knowing he was a brilliant painter, Monet sought to breathe new artistic ideals into the electrifying Parisian art scene. He wanted to challenge the prestigious Salon Jury with his exquisite seascape paintings. Monet painted the Life and Nature surrounding him, instead of painting traditional, historical paintings. He immediately befriended liberal Camille Pissaro, an avant-garde painter of landscapes and everyday Island life, who was also longing to abandon traditional painting.
Together, Monet and Pissaro banished from their canvases the traditionally accepted historical, mythological, and religious paintings of their time; instead, they began painting life as they experienced it. They began to paint Sensations - fractured sun light enveloping trees, water shimmering with light, Parisians rushing down a busy street.
By 1862, Monet and Pissaro surrounded themselves with other, artistically adventurous visionaries: traditionalist August Renoir, the notoriously shocking and egocentric Edouard Manet, obsessive-compulsive Edgar Degas, and the oppressed Bertha Morisot, who would receive artistic praise from these brilliant men, inspiring her to remain the sole female artist in the male-dominated art world.
It would take 12 years (1874) before art critics would finally have the chance to critique their paintings. The critiques, however, were ill-fated; their works were deemed incomplete; critics considered the works "impressions" of what the completed painting might look like, if the artists went back and finished their paintings. The artists, however, did not...
This group forged a lifelong friendship, painting together amidst war, poverty, mental anguish, love, rejection, disappointment, and finally, in their dying years, positive recognition. "
Fleeting Impressions, Eternal Beauty
Serge J. Van Steenkiste | Atlanta, GA | 04/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution, a two-DVD set, introduces viewers to one of the most influential schools in the history of visual arts: The French Impressionists / Pointillists of the 19th century. Art scholars chronicle the life, historical context, and the most celebrated works of artists such as:
1) Edgar Degas 2) Edouard Manet 3) Claude Monet 4) Berthe Morisot 5) Camille Pissaro 6) Pierre Auguste Renoir 7) George Seurat 8) Alfred Sisley
What is remarkable in reviewing these names is to (re)discover how much artistic talent was present in France, especially in Paris, in the second-half of the 19th century.
To their credit, art scholars clearly explain the early struggles of the French Impressionists to overcome the artistic conservatism of the state-run Académie. The annual juried art show, the Salon de Paris, was the embodiment of the Académie's reluctance to embrace change. In the end, the Académie was no match to stop the eventual triumph of these engaged painters who broke many rules in revolutionizing painting techniques and subjects. The on-location photography in France gives viewers a better appreciation of the surroundings that were familiar to these artists. For all its merits, The Impressionists DVD-set cannot be a substitute for standing in front of these masterpieces that assure their authors a place in the artistic pantheon of humanity. "
A Great Impression!
Robert L. Wasserman | Milanville, PA, USA | 09/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This set is a truly captivating opus in all respects. Aside from the most informative historical content, the production is beautifully presented in a way that both fascinates and captivates the viewer, enveloping and transporting him back in time.
The appreciation and understanding gained for the artists is wonderful within the context of their individual techniques, hardships and struggles to become accepted. The paintings, needless to say, are visual feasts skillfully presented. The musical soundtrack and superb narration are models for the documentary genre."
Luminous paintings elegant music
Laurie Moody | Scotts Valley, CA | 02/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not only are the paintings themselves almost better than the original (just kidding, kinda) due to the luminosity imposed by the screen, the lovely score is transporting. This set places the Impressionists in a historical framework (though I didn't hear mention of Monet's studio being usurped as military storage during the war and his paintings used as linoleum-don't know if this is true or not, but had heard it before.) I was rather shocked that Monet got his friend and benefactor's wife pregnant and had the audacity to move her and the baby in with himself and his wife. Monet's wife got ill and died several years later, no doubt stressed out by the situation. Then Monet paints her dead. This dvd really hits home how you may appreciate someone's work, but not necessarily who they are as human beings."