The Art of France

This Is the Modern World

Series 1 - Episode 3 This Is the Modern World

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Review

Andrew Graham-Dixon concludes his survey of French art, bustling through the tourist crowds of Montmartre or sitting in some chichi Parisian café. Even his hair takes on a raffish air.

He’s tracking the French golden age of art, running from the 1870s to the end of the Second World War, and it’s a gallery of wonders. And while the series ends on the dark shores of existentialism (with Joy Division on the soundtrack, hey ho), there’s still much to raise AG-D’s spirits; he gets so close to Monet’s 1872 Impression, Sunrise that he almost licks it, and his tender discussion of the same artist’s giant waterlily canvases might actually bring tears to the eye.

Summary

Andrew Graham-Dixon examines the development of Impressionism, when France was changing at a rapid pace and young artists re-invented the rules of painting - finding their muses in the bars, brothels and cabarets of Paris and turning the world of art on its head. Monet, Degas and their contemporaries launched a heated debate about the role of painting in the modern world that would pave the way for just about every modern art movement of note. Last in the series.

Cast & Crew

Actor Andrew Graham-Dixon
Director Tim Dunn
Executive Producer Basil Comely
Series Producer Silvia Sacco
Documentary Arts