Waldemar (gotta’ love that name] has been growing on me. I mean, I disagree with him quite a lot, not only in his assessments of art and artists, but just in terms of how he describes what we are looking at. He might declare a painting morose that I find quite chipper. But after initially being disappointed with what I saw as his shortcomings, I’ve come to enjoy them. He tries to be as grandiose as the legendary Robert Hughes, but it comes off as a performance. Nevertheless, in this day, it is refreshing to have a pompous narrator give us a tour of western art, even if he sensationalizes a bit too much for my tastes. His imperfections put him on our own level a bit more, like a friend we can have a discussion with over coffee, and hammer out our differences of perspective. That said, he is an authority on art, with enormous breadth, and the only living art critic I’m aware of that has attempted a comprehensive video survey of art history. Also, because he’s got a fairly different vantage point on art history than I do, he finds things I wouldn’t look for, and thus I learn new things about artists like Van Gogh, who I’m pretty much an expert on at this point. [Note: I never get sick of Vincent, and he only gets better over time.]
Perspective has uploaded 29 of his art documentaries so far — I have no idea how many there are in total — and new ones are appearing every few days. They are at least positive, entertaining, and thoroughly watchable. As a veteran of several college art history courses, I can honestly recommend you save your money and just watch what you can find on YouTube instead, including these videos, for free. An added bonus is you can avoid all (OK, most) the political indoctrination and demonization of western art and artists that is typically taught in place of art appreciation in our esteemed institutions of higher learning [I speak from experience]. This is for people who love art and art history, not so much for those who love to hate it.
Here’s a link to the playlist: Waldemar Januszczak – Perspective.
And here are some I’ve watched recently and enjoyed. Uh, I’ve been in an Impressionist/Post Impressionist mood the last several days:
I’ve seen Waldemar’s videos on Renaissance, Baroque, and American art months ago on another platform, but I may re-watch them.
Also, if you are getting a little bored with a steady diet of being told western civilization is evil, bankrupt, and all creativity has been appropriated from other cultures, these videos can put reality in a little bit better perspective, and at very least help one to not internalize the malignant rhetoric of the day.