Coming this autumn on BBC2 is Simon Schama's Power Of Art:
Historian Simon Schama recounts the remarkable story of eight moments of high drama in the making of eight masterpieces:
Caravaggio's David With The Head Of Goliath; Bernini's Ecstasy Of St Theresa; Rembrandt's Conspiracy Of Claudius Civilis; Jacques-Louis David's Marat; Turner's Slave Ships With Slavers Throwing The Dead And Dying Overboard; Van Gogh's Wheatfield With Crows; Picasso's Guernica; and Mark Rothko's suite of paintings for the Seagram Building restaurant, the Four Seasons in New York.
Yesterday, the book of the telly programme (Power Of Art) arrived here at RSB Towers. It is big and bright and colourful, just as you'd expect. Now, I was pretty fond of Schama's A History of [the kings and queens] of Britain when it was on the telly. Yup, it was very partial; yup, it felt like a schools education programme; but it was punchy, and I found Schama to be a charming presenter. Not so Waldemar Januszczak! Writing in the Sunday Times last weekend about Schama's new book, Januszczak finds the historian "excruciatingly vain" and that "television’s demands for legibility, sexiness and pat conclusions have duly infected Schama’s prose":
Pumped up, partial and untrustworthy, this constant singling out of the best this and the most achieved that adds up to some very lazy art history.