Tim Marlow is back to investigate more stories from the art world, turning his attention to some of the greatest artistic figures and their phenomenal work, featuring Van Gogh and Monet in the first two episodes.
“I envy the Japanese” Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo. In the exhibition on which this film is based – Van Gogh & Japan at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam – one can see why. Though Vincent van Gogh never visited Japan, it is the country that had the most profound influence on him and his art.
One cannot understand Van Gogh without understanding how Japanese art arrived in Paris in the middle of the 19th century and the profound impact it had on artists like Monet, Degas and, above all, Van Gogh. Visiting the new galleries of Japanese art in Paris and then creating his own image of Japan – through in depth research, print collecting and detailed discussions with other artists – Van Gogh’s encounter with Japanese artworks dramatically changed his direction as an artist.
After leaving Paris for the south of France – in which he saw a parallel to his idealised vision of Japan – the productive and yet troubled years that followed must all be seen in the context of Van Gogh bending Japanese influences to his will and defining himself as a modern artist with clear Asian precursors.
In this little-known story of Van Gogh’s art we see just how important his study of Japan was. The film travels not only to France and the Netherlands but also to Japan to further explore the remarkable heritage that so affected Van Gogh and made him the artist we know of today.
In Episode 2 Monet’s life is a gripping tale about a man who, behind his sun-dazzled canvases, suffered from feelings of depression and loneliness.
However, as his art developed and his love of gardening led to the glories of his Giverny garden, his humour, insight and love of life are revealed.
Told through Monet’s own words and shot on location at the very spots he painted, the film features his most loved paintings in an unforgettable, immersive art experience.
GREAT ART is available to be streamed on ITV Hub and live on ITV
Van Gogh & Japan on ITV Hub now
Claude Monet 17/11