This is a beautifully photographed look at the recent exhibition in Rome held in the Bonaparte Palace in Piazza Venezia.
There are sweeping aerial panoramic views of Rome with panning shots of some of the exhibition rooms and some of the paintings are examined in luminous extreme close up so we can observe the brushstrokes.
Among the artists included are – Monet , Pissaro, Degas ,Renoir ,Berthe Morrisot and Cezanne to name just a few.
Fifty paintings are included in the exhibition, most of which have not previously been available to be viewed by the public as they come from private collections.
There is also black and white footage of Paris during the late19th century and voice overs of letters written.
The exhibition looks at the Impressionist school of painting (named after Monet’s Impression Sunrise ) and how it introduced a new way of seeing. Their work was a reaction against the stultifying rules of the Academy. They were not really a ‘school’ but a group that had a shared focus, keeping their own personality.
It is a narrative of consequences.It asks who were the Impressionists? And looks at how they introduced a technical revolution and a new sensibility. It looks at how they made a breakthrough in the use of light and colour for example and often preferred plien air (outdoors) painting to catch the atmosphere. Reflection and water were also most important.
The exhibition has rooms specially devoted to Pisarro and Caillebotte, for example, and the film looks at the problems of designing lighting and hanging the exhibition.
The curator Marianne Mathieu, scientific director of the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris and by Claire Durand-Ruel – a descendant of the first merchant-supporter of the Impressionists- are interviewed and various other experts analyse some of the paintings .
The change in Renoir’s style is also examined.
Also looked at is the role of art dealers (especially Durand-Ruel) and collectors.
The legacy of the Impressionists is also presented – their influence on for example Van Gogh and Gaugin and how the movement has influenced artists through to the present day from Pointilism ( eg Seurat ) through to the Nabis and the Fauves and even Andy Warhol.
Also examined is the role of art dealers (especially Durand-Ruel) and collectors and how particularly at first the Impressionists had difficulty in being accepted to hang in leading museums and were prefered by collectors but now the various artist’s works are some of the most loved around the world.
Running time – just under 90 minutes
Secret Impressionists screens at selected cinemas from September 19 2020