DVD Review: Simon Schama- The Power of Art

Simon Schama's, The Power of Art is a three disc series that explores key artists from the Renaissance through the era of Modern Art. The series is by far the most insightful, well told and well done of any art series I have seen. Simon Schama is an outstanding story-teller, who intrigues us at the beginning of each segment with a particular keystone painting by the artist, and then sets forth from the beginning of the artist's career to weave a complete story of art and creator. There are several other factors that make this series so compelling.

For starters, Schama has chosen a variety of artists: Disc 1 features Carravagio, Bernini and Rembrandt; Disc 2 has David, Turner and Van Gogh; Disc 3 with Picasso and Rothko. Each artist's story begins with a piece you may or may not be familiar with. The narratives are supported by wonderful details of the artwork itself, dramatic story lines, character acting and on-location shots to really help the viewer immerse them self into the artist's world.

An interesting point to mention is though Schama certainly respects all the artists and work shown here, it doesn't necessarily mean he likes all of them. That said, he never lets his own opinions get in the way of revealing each individual's significance in the greater context of art and history. His passion for the arts is contagious.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the series, learning more about artists I wasn't all that familiar with and learning more still about those I thought I knew a great deal of. I appreciate what Simon Schama has done as an historian and story-teller, and truly look forward to seeing more work produced by him and The BBC.