Films » The Art Mysteries

The Art Mysteries

In a new investigative series, art sleuth, Waldemar Januszczak, sets out to uncover the secret meanings hidden within some of the greatest paintings by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and Seurat. Universally admired and appreciated, these famous post-impressionists produced the 19th century's most popular art. But hidden inside their pictures are messages that are dark and surprising - if you know where to look.

Cézanne’s ‘Card Players’ is one of his most mysterious paintings. Why did the so-called Father of Modern Art paint two old men hunched over a game of cards? Gauguin’s ‘The Vision After the Sermon’ is a painting full of symbolism and mystery, but what does it have to do with Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miserables’ and with sumo wrestlers? Van Gogh’s ‘Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear', painted soon after he cut off his ear with a razor, is one of his most celebrated pictures, but its genesis is a tale of geishas, brothels, bullfights, love affairs, suffering and a fiery relationship with Gauguin. While Seurat’s ‘Les Poseuses’ is a picture brimming with codes and hidden meanings. Waldemar Januszczak illuminates all these secrets in this new four-part series.

The Art Mysteries is a ZCZ Films production for the BBC. The series was commissioned by Mark Bell for BBC Arts and BBC Four.