Monday, September 5, 2016

BBC Sickert vs Sargent

The movie this week is an hour long show that BBC 4 put out back in 2007.  The art critic, Waldemar Januszczak, profiles the artists John Singer Sargent and Walter Sickert. The title can be a bit misleading as a lot of people thought it was a battle between the two artists. The show actually doesn't put the two up against each other to compare the work side by side, but more or less the lifestyle and how it helped influence their work. Never does Januszczak try to say one artist is better than the other, he's simply comparing and contrasting.
The reason why I enjoyed it so much was that he touched on two things that very much interest me. With Sargent he greatly discusses the dress that Madame X wore and how it was so scandalous. To me that always intrigued me about that painting. How did he ever get away with painting a woman showing that much skin at that time? The other thing is the Patricia Cornwall book about Jack the Ripper and how she claims that Sickert was the Ripper. I remember when that book came out, I got into a seriously heated conversation with someone who believed everything Cornwall wrote about Sickert.  All of the "research" she did to come to that conclusion. Obviously I said it was a bunch of malarkey and it is, but the people in this documentary agree, the evidence is lacking.
It's a nice one hour long show that takes you around London to see where the artists worked and some really great shots of the art work.

1 comment:

  1. I'm intrigued by the Madame X issue and what it revealed about society at that time, too. The crowds were perfectly happy to view a fully nude Bougereau because he provided them with the "moral filter" of allegory or a supposedly primitively culture. Sargent took the same Realism that LePage and Millet applied to peasants and shined it on the the upper crust. The claim his portrayals were superficial is hard to support.