Museum Masterpieces: The Metropolitan Museum of Art [TTC Video]
28 January 2017, 03:57
Course No 7510 | AVI, XviD, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 7.05GB
Where else can you find masterpieces extending from the dawn of civilization to today; or encyclopedic holdings from all the major cultures on earth; or genres ranging from paintings to period rooms, sculpture to suits of armor, metalwork to musical instruments—all situated in a palatial building beside one of the world's most magnificent parks?
No other museum covers the history of humanity and its achievements as thoroughly as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Professor Richard Brettell believes that The Metropolitan Museum of Art is not just the greatest art museum in America, but that it is also the most complete encyclopedic art museum on the planet, rivaled only by the Louvre in Paris and the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, whose collections have significant gaps by comparison.
A Consummate Guide
Professor Brettell is a scholar, an author, a teacher, and a former museum director, known to many Teaching Company customers for his dazzling investigation of a much-loved period in From Monet to Van Gogh: A History of Impressionism and his overview of a legendary cultural icon in Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre. Above all, he is a consummate guide who delights in selecting superb works of art and then exploring their resonance with other works. For example, in this course he exploits The Metropolitan Museum of Art's wide-ranging holdings to draw your attention to masterpieces that share intriguing similarities, linking different cultures, genres, and periods:
- Two noble countenances: Auguste Rodin's lifelike portrait bust of Honoré de Balzac from 1891 evokes, in its realistic power, the remarkable 4,000-year-old copper head of a ruler in the museum's Ancient Near Eastern Art collection.
- A study in forms: The overlapping abstract forms of Willem de Kooning's 1949 painting Attic strikingly recall the figures crowded onto the surface of Roman funerary sarcophagi or the swarming melee in Nicolas Poussin's The Abduction of the Sabine Women.
- Mother and child: Every culture uses art to depict the bond between mother and child. Professor Brettell chooses four paradigmatic examples: an early Italian painting by Berlinghiero, a 14th-century Indian copper sculpture, a pre-Hispanic Olmec figurine, and a Renaissance relief by Andrea della Robbia.
Many Museums under One Roof
In these 24 visually rich, half-hour lectures, Professor Brettell takes you through The Metropolitan Museum of Art from front to back, from bottom to top, introducing practically every department in the museum. Each is a museum unto its own, representing one of the world's finest collections in its field. You will see an astonishing number of works—more than 400 in all—focusing on Professor Brettell's favorites, and in the process touching on virtually all of the best-known pieces in the museum, and many more besides. His is a personal tour, driven by his enthusiasm and a ceaseless curiosity to see riches of The Metropolitan Museum of Art unknown even to him.
Your journey begins in Lecture 1 with a brief history of the museum, Central Park, and the city itself. Then you proceed up the broad steps facing Fifth Avenue and into the museum's Great Hall. Lectures 2–5 take you to the complex of galleries at the front of the building, dealing with the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome, ancient Egypt, Asia, the ancient Near East, and the Islamic world.
Then in Lectures 6–9 you return to the Great Hall and ascend the grand staircase to The Metropolitan Museum of Art's outstanding collection of European paintings, covering the Renaissance to the 19th century. Here you find masterpieces by Giotto, Raphael, Dürer, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh, and many others. Lectures 10 and 11 cover the nearby Department of Drawings and Prints, which has the largest holdings in the museum, plus the Department of Photographs; these collections are largely in storage, and you will see treasures that are normally not on display.
Lectures 12–15 take you to galleries in the heart of The Metropolitan Museum of Art on the first floor, devoted to European decorative arts and sculpture, along with the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the ancient New World. These four lectures present a study in contrasts, covering the height of European culture represented by its rooms, furniture, statues, and other objects, followed by a survey of some of the world's most powerful non-European art, including masks, figures, and ritual vessels produced on three continents and countless islands over a span of 3,500 years.
Lecture 16 is a study in contrasts itself, featuring musical instruments, arms, and armor. Then in Lecture 17 you descend to The Metropolitan Museum of Art's ground floor to investigate fashion and fabrics at the Costume Institute and the Antonio Ratti Textile Center, whose extensive holdings are rarely seen by most visitors.
In a great sweep across the back of the museum, you study American art in Lectures 18 and 19; you sample 20th-century art in Lectures 20 and 21; and you tour the Robert Lehman Collection in Lectures 22 and 23, exploring a wing devoted to one of the most extraordinary gifts of art by a single individual. These six lectures feature scores of artists such as Sargent, Whistler, Picasso, Matisse, Goya, and Renoir. Lecture 24 concludes the course with a look at some of The Metropolitan Museum of Art's most illustrious donors and directors.
You would have to move through the museum at superhuman speed to take in all of the works investigated in detail in the 12-hour running time of this course. Yet the experience with Professor Brettell is one of a relaxed stroll with a very knowledgeable, very personable, and ceaselessly curious companion. The course is truly a user-friendly guide to a mammoth institution that has amassed astonishing treasures.
Where Did All These Masterpieces Come From?
One of the fascinating aspects of this course is that Professor Brettell provides insights from the curator's point of view. For instance, he notes that museum directors and curators have an idiosyncratic way of reading labels: They start at the bottom, which lists the donor and year of acquisition. "Those of us in the profession are interested in the stories of the formation of the great American art institutions, which are stories about donors." Some of these stories include:
- In 1946 Gertrude Stein spurred the museum to start collecting modern art in earnest by bequeathing the famous portrait of her by Picasso.
- The year 1969 saw the donation of an entire museum by Nelson Rockefeller: The Museum of Primitive Art, which formed the nucleus for the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.
- In 1971 the museum used donated funds to pay a record price for Velázquez's remarkable portrait Juan de Pareja—a likeness "so quiveringly alive," says Professor Brettell, "that you can't believe that the man won't walk out of the picture!"
Feed Your Imagination
A great art collection like The Metropolitan Museum of Art's is a place for dreamers, thinkers, and time travelers. It is a world where you can connect to people and cultures that are long vanished. "Great works of art communicate across time," says Professor Brettell. They evoke distinctive people, ways of life, and points of view that are both familiar and strange, and that put the present into a more universal context. A brooding sculpture, an intricate piece of jewelry, a reconstructed room with meticulous period furnishings, a powerfully painted portrait or landscape—these and other works of human craft and genius feed the imagination and satisfy the soul in ways that are hard to pin down, but that open a limitless vista of learning and enjoyment.
Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre [TTC Video]
28 January 2017, 03:46
Course No 7175 | AVI, XviD, 640x480 | MP3, 256 kbps, 2 Ch | 12x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 3.6GB
Do you dream of exploring the masterpieces of the Louvre Museum in Paris? Whether you're planning your first visit to this world-class museum, returning for a second look, or simply playing the role of armchair art critic, you'll enjoy the pleasures that await you in this tour of France's greatest treasures.
In Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre, expert art critic and historian Richard Brettell takes you on an unforgettable journey through one of the world's greatest museums. This 12-lecture series begins with an overview of the Louvre's colorful history as royal palace, art academy, and national showcase. Then you'll explore some of the most beautiful and renowned examples from the museum's remarkable collection of European paintings from the late medieval period through the early 19th century, including masterworks by Raphael, Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Watteau, Rubens and Vermeer.
Guided by Professor Brettell's expert commentary, you'll browse world-famous masterpieces and hidden gems as they come alive in luminous, full-color illustrations. What is the mystery behind Mona Lisa's smile? What does Jusepe Ribera's painting of the Clubfooted Boy seem to say about the proper subject of art? From the art novice to the expert, everyone will find something to enlighten and surprise.
You'll also retrace the steps of aristocrats and artisans who over eight centuries have come to this beautiful structure for inspiration. See how succeeding generations built on the aesthetic foundation of those who came before, and forged new styles and forms out of the works of the past.
Whether you're new to the world of art, or a long-time admirer of the masters of European painting, you'll be inspired and enchanted by Museum Masterpieces.
A Fascinating Façade
Your journey begins with a tour of the Louvre itself. A famously massive structure, the Louvre can be intimidating to a first-time visitor—and even to those who have already walked its many halls and corridors.
Professor Brettell offers an overview of this complicated structure, highlighting the most popular galleries and departments. You'll also get a guided tour of the building's colorful past as it has grown and changed from a palace to an art academy to a public museum over the course of its 800-year history. Here's a sampling of the fascinating facts you'll learn:
- The original building that stood on the site of the modern Louvre was constructed as a walled defensive castle in the 12th century.
- France's King Henry IV linked the original Louvre with the Tuileries, the palace of Catherine de Medici.
- Many of the treasures of the Louvre's collection of ancient art can be traced from Napoleon's conquests.
You'll also learn about the most recent development in the Louvre's construction, which transformed these sprawling buildings into a unified museum and included the addition of the famous pyramid entrance designed by acclaimed American architect I. M. Pei.
With the aspiring traveler in mind, Professor Brettell provides practical tips designed to bring this spectacular showcase within reach—from the best times to visit the most popular galleries to commonsense strategies for avoiding "museum fatigue."
Every Picture Tells a Story
After the introductory lecture, Professor Brettell offers a selective sampling of the grand masterpieces and lesser known gems that make up the museum's collection of European paintings, including religious artwork, portraits, landscapes, still lifes, and scenes of everyday life. From beggars to kings, merchants to goddesses, miniature treasures to massive altarpieces, you'll sample the full range of the Louvre's rich collection of paintings and portraiture.
Professor Brettell provides a helpful framework for understanding and appreciating this rich collection by focusing on different time periods, schools, or regions in each lecture. Explore the influence of Italian art on French sensibilities, then sample the museum's remarkable holdings in Spanish, Flemish, Dutch, and German paintings. The latter half of the course focuses on French painters, tracing their development from the 17th century through the French Revolution, the Napoleonic era, and the early 19th century.
Each lecture opens with a featured work, a representative masterpiece that serves as an anchor for the discussion to follow. Through these featured works, Professor Brettell introduces many of the relevant themes and historical issues that will dominate each lecture, and demonstrates how close observation of an artist's techniques and compositional style can enhance our enjoyment of these paintings. From there, Professor Brettell expands on these themes and topics by exploring other key works from the same period or region. The lectures also serve as an introduction to art appreciation, as Professor Brettell demonstrates some of the most rewarding methods for examining these masterworks.
Throughout, the discussion is enlivened by fascinating anecdotes about the world of art captured in the Louvre's collection:
- You'll learn about the Caravaggio masterpiece, The Death of the Virgin, which was commissioned for the Roman Church of Santa Maria della Scala a Trastevere, but was rejected by the clergy because the model for Mary was identified as a prostitute.
- You'll examine the frenetic work of Jean-Honoré Fragonard, and hear how he boasted of painting a master work in only one hour.
- You'll hear how Jacques-Louis David's rendition of a scene from classical Roman history helped spur the French Revolution.
- You'll ponder the implications of Jean-Antoine Watteau's portrait of the clown character Pierrot, and consider the theory that the painting was actually the artist's melancholy self-portrait.
From engaging stories such as these, to insights into the techniques and methods of bygone masters, Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre offers an intriguing introduction to one of the world's finest museums.
The Secrets of Great Mystery and Suspense Fiction [TTC Video]
27 January 2017, 16:59
Course No 2442 | MP4, AVC, 856x480 | AAC, 192 kbps, 2 Ch | 36x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 11.38GB
On a dark, shadowy, cobblestone pavement in Victorian England, a pipe-smoking genius works with Scotland Yard to make meticulous observations and apply algorithm-like calculations that unravel impossible mysteries. In an internet café in Sweden, a chain-smoking computer hacker, working alone and outside the lines of legal constraints, creates actual algorithms that help her to decipher unfathomable puzzles. At first glance, it might seem like a long and winding road from Sherlock Holmes to Lisbeth Salander, but peer deeper into the captivating genre of mystery and suspense and you’ll find that different characters, eras, and locations often share familiar traits.
Great mystery and suspense writers have created some of the most unforgettable stories in all of literature. Even readers who don’t consider themselves fans of this intriguing genre are familiar with names such as Hercule Poirot, Sam Spade, Hannibal Lecter, and Robert Langdon, and understand the deep and lasting impact this writing has had on literature as a whole. An utterly captivating and compelling genre, mystery and suspense has leapt off the pages of the old dime store paperbacks, magazines, and comic books onto big screens, small screens, radio serials, podcasts, websites, and more. You’ll find elements, characters, and references permeating popular culture and news reports worldwide, and bleeding into other literary genres such as romance, political thrillers, sports stories, and even biographies. Nearly 200 years old, the genre of mystery and suspense literature is only growing more popular.
How did it become so prevalent? Why is mystery and suspense a go-to genre for so many readers around the world? What makes the dark and sometimes grisly themes appealing? In the 24 lectures of The Secrets of Great Mystery and Suspense Fiction, Professor David Schmid of the University at Buffalo examines these questions, as he guides you through an examination the many different varieties of the genre, including:
- classic whodunits
- hard-boiled crime fiction
- historical mysteries
- courtroom dramas
- true crime narratives
- espionage fiction
- and many more
In doing so, you’ll travel the road of mystery and suspense backward and forward in time, around the world, and alongside some of the most amazing minds in literature. You’ll investigate the works of influential authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Thomas Harris, Walter Mosley, and more. You’ll see how the genre has been subverted and revitalized by contemporary writers, how it has affected and been affected by worldwide social and cultural transformations, and how the modern trend of “mash-up” literature (such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) had roots in very early mystery fiction. And by ripping stories from the headlines of real-life psychopaths and serial killers, you’ll see how the genre has—and still does—blur the line between reality and fiction. Most importantly, with the aid of this course, you’ll uncover nuances and themes you’ve probably never considered, no matter how familiar you are with these great works.
It’s Elementary: Examining the Elements of Mystery and Suspense
One of the most captivating components of this course is how Professor Schmid—both an avid fan of mystery and suspense and a scholar of the genre— surveys the same works through many lenses, giving you a different perspective each time. With Professor Schmid as your guide, you’ll examine the use and many variations of characters such as the detective, the criminal, the sidekick, the private eye, the police officer, and the femme fatale, as well as how the interconnections between these character types both define and defy their genres.or example, the relationship between the detective and police or the juxtaposition of criminal and private eye can help delineate subgenres within mystery and suspense fiction.
Professor Schmid considers the ways certain works might utilize clues, solutions, poetic justice, and violence, taking you through centuries of history and various sorts of suspense fiction to pinpoint specific examples. As authors experimented with the form over time, you’ll learn how books with ambiguous or unsolved conclusions became gradually more accepted into the mainstream, reflecting a change in the audience who once saw open-ended conclusions as simply frustrating or unsettling.
He also explores locations and the use of space to set the scene, comparing the claustrophobic panic evoked in the locked-room mysteries of Victorian England, when the killer was hidden in plain sight among the characters, to the open-ended suspicion when anything is possible in the dark back-alleys of noir. In this way, he invites you to reevaluate and reconsider a story you thought you were familiar with.
The Changing Faces of Detectives
The range of works that fall under the scope of Professor Schmid’s course will surprise and delight, as you are introduced to books by many international writers representing diverse racial and social groups. One of the keys to the success of this genre is its unique capacity for embracing real-world social changes while still remaining true to its defining features.
Mystery and suspense fiction is historically known for featuring male, Caucasian characters in the most prominent roles – as both protagonists and antagonists. However, you may be surprised to know that it is increasingly one of the most diversely written genres, with contributions from writers of many races and ethnicities worldwide being embraced. The genre naturally lends itself to illuminating pervasive issues like prejudice and bigotry, becoming a powerful outlet for writers to explore new perspectives.
Throughout the course, Professor Schmid devotes coverage to women, LGBTQ, Latin, Black, and Native American writers and characters, exploring how the context of the setting, the historical injustices, and the unique situations that come with these perspectives forced the classic elements of traditional mysteries to adapt and evolve. He will take you around the world with lectures focused on the influx of mysteries from Europe, Japan, Africa, and Latin America. He also devotes an entire lecture just to Nordic Noir: a distinctive subgenre of crime fiction authored by writers living in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland. Even if you are a mystery aficionado, Professor Schmid will likely introduce you to new names and series that you were not familiar with.
The author of Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture; coauthor of Zombie Talk: Culture, History, Politics; editor of Violence in American Popular Culture; and coeditor of Globalization and the State in Contemporary Crime Fiction: A World of Crime, Professor Schmid is an expert on the genre, as well as a passionate and lively leader for this survey of a truly fascinating category of fiction. He has designed a course that takes a soup-to-nuts view of mystery and suspense books. Given the vast number of authors, books, time-periods, countries, and subgenres covered in this course, you simply can’t find a more comprehensive view. Fans of suspense will be delighted by the breadth and depth of information presented, guaranteed to uncover gems they had not yet discovered. But anyone, whether they are admirers of mystery on radio and film, or simply fans of literature, history, or pop culture, will find something to enlighten and entertain in this study of a genre with such tremendous impact.
Dive deeper into this genre than ever before with The Secrets of Great Mystery and Suspense Fiction, investigating multiple angles and getting a truly multifaceted picture of a fascinating literary subject.