Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre

Course No. 7175
Professor Richard Brettell, Ph.D.
The University of Texas, Dallas
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Course No. 7175
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Course Overview

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.

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12 lectures
 |  Average 31 minutes each
  • 1
    Palace to Museum—The Story of the Louvre
    This lecture provides an overview of the history of the Louvre, describes the layout of the building, and offers tips and strategies for making the most of a visit to this remarkable museum. x
  • 2
    Leonardo and the Origins of the Collection
    Francis I sparked an artistic revolution in the 16th century by attracting Leonardo da Vinci to France and creating a rivalry between French and Italian art. Leonardo's La Joconde (The Mona Lisa) serves as the anchor for a lecture exploring works by Italian painters, including Raphael, as well as earlier French painters. x
  • 3
    Italian Renaissance and Baroque Painting
    This lecture explores the Louvre's immense collection of Italian painting dating from the medieval period through the early 17th century. Featured works include altarpieces and portraits by masters of the High Renaissance and Baroque era in Italy including Raphael, Giorgione, Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, and Andrea Mantegna, as well as the religious and secular works by the mercurial Caravaggio. x
  • 4
    Spanish School of Painting
    The Louvre's collection of Spanish paintings is small but contains some fine examples that were highly influential on later French painting. Jusepe Ribera's Clubfooted Boy serves as the featured masterpiece for the lecture, leading to a discussion of selected Spanish painters from the deeply religious images of El Greco to the court portraits of Goya. x
  • 5
    Rubens and Flemish Painting; Early German
    From the Rubens's immense canvas of The Apotheosis of Henry IV to Quentin Metsys's precise, quotidian portrait, The Moneylender and His Wife, this lecture surveys the Louvre's remarkable collection of paintings by Flemish and German artists. x
  • 6
    Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Dutch Painting
    This lecture discusses the major paintings in the collection by the three greatest Dutch artists of the 17th century—Rembrandt, Hals, and Vermeer—and explores the French interest in miniature Dutch cabinet pictures (Little Masters). x
  • 7
    De La Tour, Le Nain, and 17th-century Painting
    This lecture initiates a broad survey of French painters that serves as the focus for the remainder of the course. De la Tour and the Le Nain brothers represent an original and indigenous style of French painting, which is contrasted to contemporary artists trained in Italy and the north. x
  • 8
    Claude and Poussin—French Painters in Rome
    The Grand Siécle (great century) of French painting—the 17th century—is represented by the works of two startlingly different artists: the intellectual painter Nicolas Poussin and the artist of tranquil landscapes, Claude Lorrain. x
  • 9
    Watteau and Chardin
    This lecture explores the state of French painting at the end of the reign of Louis XIV by contrasting the styles of two geniuses: the delicate, melancholy of Jean-Antoine Watteau and the earthy clarity of Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin. x
  • 10
    Boucher, Fragonard, and the Rococo in France
    Jean-Honoré Fragonard's vigorous operatic painting and Boucher's delicate sensuality offer two versions of French Rococo painting and are contrasted to the classically inspired moralism of Greuze and their contemporaries. x
  • 11
    Jacques-Louis David and His School
    As a painter who started his career in the final salons of the Ancien Regime to become the premier artist of the French Revolution, Jacque-Louis David embodied the social and political transformations of his time. x
  • 12
    Delacroix and Ingres—The Great Dialectic
    The course concludes with an examination of two contrasting style of early 19th-century art, as seen in the works of Eugène Delacroix and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. x

Lecture Titles

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  • Download 12 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
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Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 12 lectures on 2 DVDs
  • 120-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 120-page printed course guidebook
  • List of works discussed
  • Photos & illustrations
  • Suggested readings

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Your professor

Richard Brettell

About Your Professor

Richard Brettell, Ph.D.
The University of Texas, Dallas
Dr. Richard Brettell is the Margaret McDermott Distinguished Professor of Art and Aesthetics at The University of Texas at Dallas. He earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Yale University. Prior to joining The University of Texas at Dallas, Professor Brettell taught at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, Yale University, and Harvard University. Professor Brettell was the founding American director of the...
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Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre is rated 4.3 out of 5 by 118.
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre A bit dry as expected, but the instructor seemed very well versed in the subject and history. Unfortunately, the audio kept fading in and out causing frequent volume adjustments. That all but ruined the presentation.
Date published: 2015-07-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring --The Louvre This professor has the driest delivery possible. Half the time he wasn't looking at the right camera. My husband and I are getting ready to travel to France for the second time and we wanted to know more about the Louvre. We couldn't make it through the first two sessions. Boring…..
Date published: 2015-06-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Doesn't live up to the title I came to this course without an academic background in painting or art history. It just seemed like an interesting course and an opportunity to learn something new. While I certainly learned many new things, I was underwhelmed by the content which was very focused on a very narrow era in its overall history, and dominated by a French ethnocentric viewpoint. Not invalid, but I was expecting the course to be broader. The prof, while knowledgable, was a bit flat. I couldn't avoid comparing this course to Simon Schama's: The Power of Art, which I thought was excellent.
Date published: 2015-03-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Pre-Trip Planning We took this course AFTER visiting the Louvre, but it covered a lot of what we did see and what we will specifically try to seek out when we inevitably return. Mr, Brettell is a passionate speaker, but not as polished as some others.
Date published: 2015-01-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Exploring the Louvre I had anticipated a course that covered more art work than is included in this one, but the historical focus -- the development of the Louvre as a school for French and other artists over time -- proved to be one that worked well with the works the professor chose to present. If I am fortunate enough to go back to the Louvre, I will definitely take the course guide with me and spend much more time -- and more productively -- in the galleries covered than I had on previous visits. The presentation is less polished than I expected, but otherwise well satisfied with the course.
Date published: 2014-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exactly what I wanted! I am watching this video for my own education, with no plan to use it in a career. I just enjoy art and am thrilled at the way it is presented. There is neither too much information nor too little. I am learning so much about how to interpret the works and how to appreciate what the artist meant.
Date published: 2014-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent and informative Course We have been to the Louvre several times and this is a wonderful addition to any past as well as future trips to visit this incredible museum.
Date published: 2014-10-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great preparation for a trip to " The Louvre" ! We are planning a visit to the Louvre. It should be most enjoyable having viewed this course. In the past we have done as most people do - see the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory etc. then go on our merry way. This time we will spend a couple of days searching out our favorite artist and viewing the art seen in the course.
Date published: 2014-10-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Get this course before your visit to the Louvre All I want to say is that I wished I had this before my visit to the Louvre. I was a student then and I was so excited about being at the Louvre that I did not pay serious attention to those collections inside the museum except for the Mona Lisa, of course.
Date published: 2014-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Minor Quibble As you can tell from my rating, I think this is a great course, taught by a great professor. However, I often notice that he gets details of the paintings wrong. It's probably because he's looking at a miniature reproduction on his computer screen. I use a digital projector to watch the lectures on an old 6 foot by 6 foot slide projector screen. Often, the narrative of the painting seems startlingly different from his version, because he can't see the details clearly enough. For example, he can't tell who is looking at whom; that there's no way Narcissus can still see his reflection from where his head is lying; that some homoerotic flirtation is going on in one painting; that the mythical figures are seemingly invisible to the person who is NOT in fact looking at them; etc.
Date published: 2014-01-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Disappointing purchase prior to a Louvre visit The first several lectures are good, focusing on the history of the museum and its Renaissance holdings. Things deteriorated when attention turned to later French artists. It is organized chronologically, but the professor does not attempt to give a history of art big picture overview. It would have been much more helpful to use the less well known French pieces as examples of historical changes in the art world. Professor Kloss' overdone History of European Art is quite flawed but better than this series. Unless you are very interested in later French holdings of the Louvre, I would bypass this course.
Date published: 2013-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exciting art course Professor Brettell is a great teacher, very engaging, even exciting. Something about him, his erudition, his experience, his palpable love of his subject, led me to look forward to watching every class. I would love to have heard him continue past the early 19th century. That the course ended with this period is my only disappointment. I highly recommend this course.
Date published: 2013-08-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable and informative I would have enjoyed slightly longer and more detailed looks at some of the paintings discussed, but overall I feel this course was a very good introduction to the Louvre. I have visited it (long ago) but didn't know anything about the origins of the collections or the history of the buildings. The first two lectures are very effective on those topics. The professor emphasizes the viewer's emotional response to a painting and the art-historical context, rather than dwelling on technical details like composition, and this was informative and interesting for me. I appreciated the professor's sense of humor.
Date published: 2013-07-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A fine walk through the Louvre This is the first of the Great Courses that I have taken, and I found it quite satisfying. Professor Brettell has an engaging style, and the paintings discussed in the course are wonderful. As a former resident of Paris and a former member of the Society of Friends of the Musee du Louvre, I was familiar with every work discussed. But after being away from the Louvre for several years, this course was nice trip down memory lane, and a nice walk through my favorite museum in the world. If I could change one thing about this course, I would add 4-6 lectures to cover art from other sections of the museum, including the Napoleonic Apartments, the Middle Eastern section, the Sculpture garden, and the basement cave area. Overall this was a wonderful experience.
Date published: 2013-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Survey of the Louvre Art is not one of my strengths. I am very much a novice when it comes to art appreciation and art history. I learned loads from this 12 lecture course presented by Professor Brettell. The course begins with a great historical look at the development of the Louvre as a museum of great art. Professor Brettell then takes you through a sampling of the works and artists displayed in its various galleries. Each lecture focuses on one special composition before heading off to explore other related works by the artists under discussion. I thought this was an effective way to move through the course. Professor Brettell appears knowledgeable and organized. His lectures were clear and without much jargon, understandable even for a beginner like me. I enjoyed his historical insights about the artists and their times. This course is a great introduction to the topic of art. I am now ready to move on to other Teaching Company courses in art to expand my knowledge. Maybe someday I will even get to the Louvre.
Date published: 2012-12-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Overview of the Louvre I returned from visiting the Louvre last week and viewed this course again. The first time I studied it was about 5 years ago. Each time I viewed it, I came away with valuable information about the museum and its paintings. The professor reviewed a wonderful selection of masterpieces and provides a fantastic explanation of the artwork and its historical context. I was yearning for more when the course ended. I recommend this course to anyone with an interest in the Louvre and especially to those who will be visiting it. I appreciated the detail that the professor provided instead of a flash of thousands of paintings.
Date published: 2012-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyable and Informative As with other lectures by Professor Brettell I found these enjoyable and informative. I only wish that this course contained more than 12 lectures. My only slightly negative comment is that the professor's point of view regarding those visitors to the Louvre who are entirely focused on the Mona Lisa is a bit harsh.
Date published: 2012-11-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A disappointmnet I would have preferred to see more pictures and less of the lecturer. I also would have preferred less grandiose and more down to earth descriptions.
Date published: 2012-08-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Should have been 24 lectures like the Met course [DVD] I recommend all three Bretell courses, but I do wish that this course had been more like the stronger Met Museum course (which I have reviewed). My goal was to better understand the collection in preparation for a visit. My goal was partially met. I would have enjoyed some discussion of all 6 departments of the Louvre. Like most viewers I adore paintings, but one of the things I enjoyed about the Met course is that it exposed me to sections of the Met that I might not otherwise seek out. For instance, in the Met course I learned of the Lehman collection. It was fascinating to learn of its donation, its composition, and how its location within the museum recreates the Lehman home. I wanted these kind of details, and was disappointed that the Louvre course offered much less of that. After a historical overview, he takes the viewer through 5 lectures on paintings made outside of France, and 6 lectures on paintings from France. Even when the artists are from outside of France, he always explains their relevance to a French audience - details I find very interesting. No lectures are dedicated to sculpture or other departments (genres). I doubt that it was his choice. I am guessing that he was asked to work within the 12 lecture format. I especially enjoyed the first two lectures. In the first he reviews the evolution of the building and the collection over many centuries. In the second, he discusses Leonardo da Vinci’s relocation to France late in life and his importance to the collection. Paintings are discussed during both lectures, but the history is of great value to me since I want to know the building as well as its collection. For me, the course has its greatest value in helping me experience my first visit as if it was my second visit. (My rushed visit as a high schooler just prior to I. M. Pei’s renovation doesn’t count as a proper visit.) I have always enjoyed Brettell’s style. He is not without his critics, and I can only assume it is because he has a very subjective style. He describes how the painting makes him feel, and what he finds striking about it. I especially enjoy when he describes how a contemporary of the painting might have felt coming from a different time and seeing the painting in a different context. He is somewhat more informal than the Teaching Company’s other art lecturers. The format in this course works against in that he only has time for 2-3 works by each major artist. I recommend the wonderful Impressionism course where he is truly in his element. It is my favorite TTC art course (I have reviewed it). Nonetheless with each lecture my ‘wish list’ of Louvre paintings was refined, helping me meet my goal of planning what I wanted to seek out next time I am in Paris. I don’t think that either this course nor the Met course are good substitutes for an art history course, but the Teaching Company offers several good options. The very popular Kloss lectures deserve their reputation, and are better for the wide sweep of art history.
Date published: 2012-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding course by an outstanding professor! This is a wonderful tour of selected paintings in the Louvre from the 16th Century through the mid-18th Century. The first lecture is a history of the Louvre with its conversion from a palace to a museum along with the subsequent expansions that bring it to the present form. In each of the following eleven lectures, a Featured Masterpiece is selected for description of the artist, the art and other artists of the era. Other paintings within in the same time are shown for comparision and contrast. Descriptions of the paintings are set within the social, economic and political time of the painting. I used "Paintings in the Louvre" by Lawrence Gowing as a compaion text to study the paintings after completing a lecture. This enabled me to study the art in greater detail. Dr. Brettell is sophisticated, urbane and polished in his descriptions of the artists and their art. He pronounces French names with appropirate French diction,and speaks almost extemporaneously from his knowledge of the Louvre. I can visulize Dr. Brettell in the classroom lecturing to students while presenting images of the paintings he describes. I am offended by some of the ad hominen comments about Dr. Brettell from a few reviewers. In my opinion, these comments completely miss the mark and undermine a great course.
Date published: 2012-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative & Helpful Intro to The Louvre I was enticed to purchase this course based on price (promo offer) and our planned first trip to Paris 8 weeks later. Since I had limited knowledge of the Louvre (a famous museum that was home to Mona Lisa), I couldn't have been more happy with this lecture series. I found the lectures to be extremely informative and educational. I agree with other reviewers that this was a "must have" course to view prior to venturing into one of the greatest museums in the world!
Date published: 2012-07-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from THREE AND A HALF STARS This course provides an excellent overview of many of the paintings in the Louvre (not all art in the museum). The volume of displays in the Louvre is simply far too large to be covered in this series of lectures, as Dr. Brettell in fact points out. For anyone planning to go to the Louvre, these talks comprise a very valuable introduction and guide; for others they are a classic armchair visit. It is probably unavoidable that the presentation is subjective, with the lecturer giving us his specific opinions. Some reviewers apparently dislike this approach, but the professor is highly qualified and I found it very useful to hear his views, while realising that they need not be imposed on me. Especially useful is the history of art incorporated in the talks, covering fundamentals and interpretation; also included is an ongoing narrative of the Louvre's changing role since its inception and how the various paintings were acquired over the years. The lecturer has a pleasant manner, but in the company of many reviewers, I agree that the camera tends to linger on him far too much, at the expense of not concentrating longer on the actual works of art which are, after all, the subject matter. Overall, an enjoyable course, recommended, but it is important to keep your expectations at a conservative level. I rate at 3.5 stars, upgraded to 4 slightly reluctantly.
Date published: 2012-06-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Art Class I've Ever Had This class has inspired me in so many ways. I have been to two art museums in the month since I have watched the video. One was the Fine Arts Museum in Colorado Springs and the other is the Kimbell Art Museum in Ft. Worth, TX. (By the way, the Kimbell Art Museum was mentioned in his video since one of the almost identical paintings was mentioned in the DVD by Georges de la Tour. By the way, the Kimbell is the best art museum I have visited. I have not been to the Lourve or a few other great museums, but I have been to the Prado, and it is even more impressive than the Prado.) I did read some of the other reviews about this series and a few were saying things along the lines of it not being comprehensive. Of course it is not. There are two million works of art at the Louvre. It is very comprehensive for 12 half hour lectures. Another comment was that he did not talk about the impressionists. Well most of those works are at the Musee D'Orsy in Paris, not the Louvre. Dr. Brettell has a whole series on that. One comment was he did not talk about three dimensionality. Please! Dr. Brettell was very engaging not spending too much time on any one painting so that it keeps your attention. He teaches you about the subject, the history behind it, the way the artist painted it, and about the authors' lives. I also liked how he did not force his views on you. He just explained and let you form your own opinions on the works of art. If you want a great overview in six hours of European art this is for you! I plan to buy his other series as well. I have already bought other DVD's from The Great Courses because I like this one. My dad has bought several, and I have watched those, and they are not as good as this one. Dr. Bretell, I wish I could meet you. I would tell you that you are a great teacher!!
Date published: 2012-05-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Really boring I found this course very difficult to pay attention to and exceedingly boring. Compared with every other course I've purchased, this one is the only one where I feel like I wasted my money.
Date published: 2012-04-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Overview I think this is a solid overview of the history and selected artists in the Louvre. The focus on a few paintings gives you a sense for the style and meaning. I do not think that anyone who wants something in depth and sophisticated would enjoy these. But I never expected that from these lectures. I feel it is a good introduction for anyone who is going to visit to give them a sense of the Louvre and some of the artwork. I purchased this at a deep discount and would be very disappointed if I paid full price. But for the sale price this is a very good overview. I have not viewed other courses or some that other reviewers mention so they may be better of course. I happen to have some casual knowledge in this area and I feel this type of course is for folks like myself and those who really have no knowledge to just get a sense for the museum and the art. Then they can explore further if they like. I will say that the quality control on the guide is lacking as there are a few works shown in the guide that are completely different from what is shown and discussed on the DVD. The descriptions are the same but the painting, that is suppose to be the same one as on the DVD, is not. Anyway, you need to set your expectations at the right level and if that is what you are looking for then you won't be surprised or disappointed.
Date published: 2012-04-09
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Outstandingly bad. This course is done by a guy who is very happy with himself . Instead of Louvre treasures you see him constantly, talking about what you see! The presentation is outdated at lest 20 years. No use of modern media whatsoever.
Date published: 2012-04-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great guided tour of the Louvre Professor Brettell shares his enthusiasm and expertise with those of us who cannot zip over to France .This overview showed me what areas I want to check out if and when I do get to go and have some knowledge of what I am looking at. Especially found the political and historical backgrounds interesting and meaningful in looking at the works. . Will order the Impressionist series next.
Date published: 2012-03-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Recommended only as a "first exposure" In my view this course is an entry-level course which places no rigor on the viewer. For someone ignorant of the Louvre, its history, origin and recent past, this course will serve as a good first exposure. With only 12 lectures, there is little depth or scholarly analysis. For those with average knowledge of the Louvre and its representative paintings other courses from TTC, such as those by Prof. William Kloss, represents a better value. However if you are looking for a "toe in the water" without the fine arts jargon, then even for the most art-shy, this will be an easily enjoyed first exposure.
Date published: 2012-02-02
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointing to say the least My wife & I have enjoyed many of the art courses available from The Great Courses but we were sorely disappointed by this course. Professor Brettell's superficial examination of a few works held by the Louvre did not demonstrate that he had any knowledge whatsoever of the topic, other than he liked going to Paris. Frankly, his subjective interpretation of the works were annoying and, in several cases, suggested that he has little or no formal training as an art historian. You can get more useful information on many of the paintings from the other Great Courses by Prof. William Kloss or Prof. Hirsh.
Date published: 2012-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Review This course was a wonderful review of the many masterpieces I had seen over 25 years ago. It renewed my interest in the Louvre and the many paintings it has on exhibit. With regard to the course, I particularly enjoyed the focus in each lecture on a particular masterpiece.
Date published: 2011-12-13
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