Modern Masters

Modern Masters

2010, Art and Artists  -   30 Comments
Ratings: 7.98/10 from 41 users.

Modern MastersModern Masters is a four-part television series detailing the life and work of four giants of 20th century art: Henri Matisse; Pablo Picasso; Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol.

During the course of the series, presenter and journalist, Alastair Sooke, explores why these artists are considered so important and examines how their influence can still be seen in our world today.

He begins with Andy Warhol, the king of Pop Art. On his journey he parties with Dennis Hopper, has a brush with Carla Bruni and gets to grips with Marilyn. Along the way he uncovers just how brilliantly Andy Warhol pinpointed and portrayed our obsessions with consumerism, celebrity and the media, and then went on to re-invent them.

Journalist Alastair Sooke sets out to discover just how much the artist Henri Matisse has influenced our modern lives. Sooke explains why Matisse's art is considered so great and also looks at how Matisse's brilliant use of color and simplification of form continues to inspire illustrators, designers and of course artists today.

The life of Pablo Picasso is an exciting story of rebellion, riches, women and great art. In this episode, journalist Alastair Sooke travels through France, Spain and the US to see some of the artist's great works and recount tales from his life story.

Salvador Dali was art's greatest clown, but was he also one of its great geniuses? Sooke traces the life and work of the popular surrealist artist, traveling throughout Europe and America. From his origins in turn-of-the-century Spain, to his high jinx in New York in the 1970s, Sook reveals this artist's fascinating life story and explains the thinking behind and impact of his most famous works.

More great documentaries

Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Peter Nelson
6 years ago

This video is about FRANCIS BACON! Nothing to do with the description.

6 years ago

The episode that played for me was about Francis Bacon. ???

8 years ago

Warhol is completely an artist, his work is a comment on how f***ed up and commercial our world is, "you want consumer garbage? Here it is, and I made it pretty for you"

8 years ago

Yeah right Andy Warhol, a real master haha. If he heralded our 'consumer led, celebrity driven world' why should he be celebrated for that

Erjan Aisabay
8 years ago

Thank you very much for the series. When I watched the Matisse episode, I almost cried. it was very powerful, especially the church scene. Interestingly, the phrase 'whether he believed in God' from the jazz book caught my attention. I had immediately posted the quote on my facebook, and then heard it towards the end of the episode..
“Si je crois en Dieu? Oui, quand je travaille. Quand je suis soumis et modeste, je me sens tellement aidé par quelqu'un qui me fait faire des choses qui me surpassent.”

8 years ago

Matisse's works may be simplistic at first glance, but they are full
of emotions. Warhol's, on the other hand, typifies many American "arts": literal, unimaginative, commercialized.

10 years ago

Picasso a millionaire communist... Inherent paradox?

10 years ago

WTH? If you ain't got it, don't bother me with it! Thanks for nothin'

10 years ago

"this video is private"

11 years ago

Oh hey. The account on youtube has been terminated due to multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement. By a couple of production agencies (satan's spawn) and a corporation (scum of all humanity. And you are NOT a person). Too bad.

11 years ago

at least Picasso proved he actually knew how to really paint :) i admire him and Dali was really a master too , Warhol and Matisse not so much the guy on the documentary exaggerates them SO much, pioneers yes! MASTERS? nein!

11 years ago

in some art , the ideas and feelings are strong ! but the painter itself could have been talent less , now fools praise em as GENIUSES

11 years ago

Andy Warhol was a pioneer but in my opinion he as an "artist" is way overrated

11 years ago

Andy Warhol is not modernist. He is postmodernist artist.

Tilen Rupar
11 years ago

Aaa just started wathing the Warhol and Dali parts and next day the videos aren't working any more... Great docs, tels a lot about modern society.

11 years ago

I finally got to watch the Dali section which was a real pleasure since in 1994 i traveled La Costa Brava to follow in his step and visited Cadaques and Figueres. That museum is the most amazing house of art i have ever visited in my life(in my taste).
One of the many paintings that are memorable is his representation of Tristan and Isolde inspired by the Angelus of Jean Francois Millet. The small size of the painting and the details and perhaps the fact that i had read the legend soon before not knowing Dali had represented it facinated me.
Dali is legendary!

11 years ago

To all the no name art dropout trolls on here: you need to stop acting like people like Worhol didn't change the world. just because everyone with photo shop and a inflated ego can do the same type work now, did not mean it was not revolutionary back then, that's like saying apple is cr@p because your phone has 10,000 times the power those first computers had. If you spent less time trolling the great masters of our time and more time working on your technique, maybe some pimple face troll would be writing about you for a change.

11 years ago

The reason Warhol's coke bottles and lurid Marilyns are masterpieces is the reason any great work of modern art is. It's not how accurately the item is painted, it's the idea behind it. It's the artist's commentary on the world he perceives; it's his voice. A great modern artist is an observer of the world, a thinker, someone with something to say. Warhol may have demurred when asked directly about the meaning of his work, but we can all clearly see he had a distinct point of view. The job of the modern artist (if there is one) is not to represent items, although they do - or to decorate a home, although they do - it's to make you feel something, to make you think something, to give you a change in perception. To make you look at things in a new way. I won't speak to the skill involved in seemingly simple shapes and assemblies, no one seems to be arguing that. Open your mind to what the artist is trying to tell you. See what it makes you feel. That's where the genius lies in most of Warhol's work, and it's how you should look at any art, pretty or not. Art should absolutely be a commentary on society, and it's what Andy was doing with his work.

11 years ago

Excellent series!

Jon Hanlan
11 years ago

@Shafid Ahmed , is Ratatat music? Is deadmau5 music? Sure it is. Is it fair to not consider Warhol's work as a legitimate art? No. For some reason we are so quick to judge art. That is good, but it is unfair judgment that upsets me. We are so inclined to make things neat in our minds. THIS IS A COMPUTER. THIS IS A MAN. Blah,blah. As soon as you open up to other alternatives of what art may look like, Warhol does seem more accessible to look at and take more seriously. I agree that 'art' needs some guidelines to follow for it to be considered 'good', or does it? I mean, many people hate rap. Is it fair to not let it be called music in that case? And the second comment : I am going to agree on the art critic statement to a certain extent. It's like talking about your dog, or any loved one for that matter. We tend to emphasize their great qualities, and get a tad bit delusional maybe. These critics already have in mind that Warhol is considered a master; therefore, it restricts the liability of them doing their job. Who knows. With the materialistic aspect, I disagree. The whole art market and achieving new pieces to your collection is materialistic, but can be in a moderate sense. Like Wal-Mart, childrens toys, etc. It can all be done with moderation and SHOULD. You need things to make new things. The ways of the universe my friend.

11 years ago

I was hoping to see more video of Dali creating bizarre photo ops of himself. Particularly emerging from a subway on a busy sidewalk with his infamous pet ant eater on a leash. Or perhaps taking a couple lobsters for a walk, again on leashes.

Thanks again for taking the time & effort to make this series available Vlatko. I found it thoroughly interesting as well as entertaining. So many memories & things forgotten about these Artists when I was much younger, pretending toward the avant-garde & gobbling up all things modern art that I was reminded of through this 4 part doc.

Anthony Williams
11 years ago

Modern art really marked a transition towards the Commodification of art.
I guess that we are still stuck in that rut of sensationalist post modern art that is really intended for consumption. Of course the only avenue of change open is the decommodification of art but there are few artist's with the skill to create art that is desirable whilst not being a commodity, Andy Goldsworthy is a fairly good example of that idea.

I'm not trying to knock modern art I was obsessed with it at school I remember obsessively drawing engineering drawings of rifle and gun components in pop art style. I basically boiled away all the nice commercial aspect of pop art of Lichtenstein etc. and targeted what I saw as the ultimate commodity which of course was a bullet. Its an object of desire, almost religious obsession, (just look at american gun culture films etc~) it is cheap which means you can obtain it and yet offers the owner the prospect of supreme power. I forget the golden rule of art though which is not to remind people there going to die :/ - You have to get famous first then you can be morbid...

But has it ever been any different? who where the renaissance artists working for? they may have coded subversive ideas and pursued forward looking enlightened interest but they where still commissioned and working for the ruling classes. Andy was actually different though, he really taped into that subconscious aspect of our inner souls that endears us to objects, associating himself masterfully with the objects of corporate manufactures was Genius, he discovered the secret of the commodity, the fetish.