Series supporting Primary Art and Design. In a clip filmed in 1957, LS Lowry describes his unique way of painting.
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This is Monet's garden.
He's one of the world's most famous and best-loved artists,
and lived here for 43 years.
Claude Monet loved gardening,
As soon as he moved here in 1883,
he set to work transforming the grounds.
Monet was not only creating a beautiful garden -
he was composing the subject matter for many of his paintings.
It's amazing - with all these flowers and vibrant colours,
it's just like stepping into one of Monet's paintings.
You may recognise this pond and bridge from one of Monet's
famous paintings - Waterlily Pond, one of my favourites.
I'll try to capture it in a Monet-style painting of my own.
I'm doing a rough sketch to work out my basic composition.
The Impressionists got their name from one of Monet's early works,
He captured the impression of early morning light using vague shapes
and concentrated on light and colour, rather than precise outline.
You can get the same effect by half-closing your eyes.
I won't squint through my painting - not very practical!
I've got something to look through - an old plastic folder.
If I hold it in front of me, it softens the hard edges,
so I can concentrate on the light and colour.
Another Impressionist technique is to use thick brush strokes.
Up close, they don't look much, but from a distance, look superb.
Given how big some of Monet's canvases were,
you'd HAVE to view them from a distance.
To create my Impressionist painting, I'm not using brushes.
I'm using my fingertips.
I'm going to start with a nice light green for the willow.
I'm using acrylic paint. Monet would have used oils,
but acrylics give the same effect and dry a lot quicker.
Monet believed things should be painted where they were -
to paint the garden, he'd stand in the garden, whether it be 3 degrees
or 33 degrees, like today.
Painting here in Monet's garden,
I feel a little like the Great Master himself.
I like that.
This is a film about a man who became an artist because he missed a train.
This happened many years ago.
He left the station in a Manchester suburb
and started to walk up the road wondering what to do.
He came to some streets of terraced houses,
which lay at the foot of an immense mill.
As he took in the scene, he was filled with the urge to paint it.
And at that moment, he decided to become an artist.
His name is Laurence Stephen Lowry. What was there in these sooty streets
to make Lowry wish to spend his life amongst them,
painting a world in which other people could see no beauty?
I really don't know why I paint these streets.
I just paint them, that's all, as far as I can see.
There's something about them that attracts me in a pictorial sense.
But I do feel that the pictures that I like the best
are pictures done entirely from... call it imagination if you like.
I start on an empty canvas
and prefer to paint from the mind's eye.
Often I haven't the slightest idea what I'm going to put on the canvas.
In that case, I suggest something,
call it a chimney or church or anything else...
..going along slowly and adding things
and, in a strange sort of a way, it seems to come.
I work like that until the canvas is completely filled.
My figures may be long and thin and their boots may be enormous,
but I don't mind it at all. I see them like that,
so I paint them like that. If they call them matchstick figures,
well...let them do it. I don't mind at all.
Of course, they're intricate pictures
and they're full of figures and detail.
It all takes balancing, which is not easy to do.
You work on this, as I say, not working too often,
or too rapidly, until I find that the time comes
and you can do no more with the picture.
When you're satisfied with that, you leave it as complete.
This is his actual studio,
just as he left it almost 100 years ago.
'This was where Cezanne really started to experiment
'using what's normally a very mundane subject - the still life.
'And all around his studio are the actual objects he painted.'
Still-lifes had traditionally been a way for an artist
to show how superbly realistically and perfectly they could paint.
But Cezanne wasn't interested in that at all.
He wasn't interested in a photographic likeness.
He was interested in a whole new way of seeing things
and then putting them onto his canvas.
I've arranged some of his objects
in what's a fairly pleasing shape for me, I think.
He never followed perspective
the way traditional artists saw perspective.
If he wanted to see into the top of a bowl,
he would go and prop it up with something,
so, instead of seeing sort of a flat bit,
he would tilt it up so he could see that sort of a view of it.
So I think I'll tilt that basket,
move that back here and sit the basket up there.
'Cezanne would spend days fine-tuning his compositions,
'sometimes using coins to tilt things by just the right amount.
'He often took so long,
'he had to use artificial fruit to stop the real fruit from rotting.
'Cezanne loved painting still-lifes.
'He had complete control over the arrangement
'and it would stay put there for months,
'unlike his fidgety portrait sitters.
'With a still life, he could do something really special,
'just with some plain old fruit. He even boasted
'that he would astonish Paris with an apple.'
He created the shape, the roundness,
by different colours, rather than by different tones.
He would have apples in the foreground, which we would assume
would be bigger than way off in the background,
but he ignored all that sort of perspective.
For example, this line of the table
is completely out of whack. On purpose, of course.
'Finally, I think I can see what Cezanne was doing
'and I'm really pleased with my painting.'
I think I've done all I can now.
'In Cezanne's still-life paintings, the rules of the picture
'were important than the rules of real life. There was nothing
'to stop him painting a fruit bowl all wonky if he wanted to.
'This was what people couldn't get their heads around,
'but he didn't care. He knew he was onto something.'
1066 is the best-known date in English history.
Harold, the last Anglo Saxon King of the English,
lost his eye to an arrow and his crown to William, Duke of Normandy,
at the Battle of Hastings. A great deal of what we know,
or think we know about the event, is captured in the Bayeux Tapestry.
The first thing to say about the Bayeux Tapestry
is that it's not a tapestry at all. Technically, it's an embroidery.
A tapestry is woven on the loom.
An embroidery is stitched onto the fabric - in this case, linen.
The images in the Bayeux Tapestry are terribly familiar -
men going like that, going overseas and meeting kings.
When you see it for real, it's quite a surprise just what it looks like,
in terms of its proportions. That's only half of it, way down there.
It's displayed on a U-bend on the outside of it, here in its gallery.
It's now accepted that the tapestry was made in England,
which was top nation at tapestry making at the time.
It was sewn by English craftsmen, but probably designed by a Norman,
and commissioned and paid for by William's half-brother,
Odo, Bishop of Bayeux.
In the main central band,
there are depicted over 600 men,
200 horses, 50 dogs...
and three women.
Anglo-Saxons are recognised by their moustaches,
Normans by their hair, cropped aggressively short at the back.
The more you look at the tapestry, the more sophisticated it appears.
To take a simple example,
Harold is here shown eating a meal before sailing to France.
He and his companions are on the first floor of a large house.
But for economy of space in the tapestry,
the upper floor is also the meal table.
Holding up the roof on the right,
there is a man who points the way down the stairs to Harold,
who is now seen boarding his ship to Normandy.
Where necessary, scenes are separated by highly stylised trees.
In the borders, drawings of fables and fantastic beasts
comment on the action.
One or two scenes appear to be out of order,
and have sometimes been dismissed as mistakes.
But the ordering is no more an accident
than is the use of flashback in a novel or a feature film.
Westminster Abbey, Edward the Confessor's burial place,
is shown before his funeral procession
and two-layered deathbed scene.
This is not because the designer forgot that you do not bury a king
before he dies. Rather, it's done in this way
so that the man offering the crown to Harold in the next scene
can point to Edward, bequeathing him the kingdom just before his death.
What everyone knows - or thinks they know - about the Battle of Hastings
is that Harold was killed with an arrow in his eye.
Is the tapestry the original source of that story?
It's the earliest known source of the story, but it's a very plausible one.
And although, sometimes, people have thought that the arrow in the eye
was part of a restoration and wasn't in the original,
the stitch-holes at the back of the tapestry show clearly
that it WAS in the original. And as I said, it really is quite plausible,
because so many arrows were flying around.
Of course, further along, there's another man falling down,
obviously dead. THAT could be Harold.
The most plausible explanation is that they're both Harold,
because these are two scenes shown as in a cartoon, where you have to
draw your figure several times, in order to show the change.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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Series supporting Primary Art and Design. Mark Speight paints in Monet's garden, Rolf Harris reproduces a still life in Cezanne's studio and, filmed in 1957, LS Lowry describes his unique way of painting. Also looks at the history and details of the Bayeux Tapestry.