Over the years, some works of art have withstood the test of time, while others have been long been forgotten. Even those that were initially hated and ridiculed were eventually acknowledged as some of the best. This is the case of the Impressionists painters. Their works of art have withstood the test of time, as has BBC’s The Impressionists, which originally aired in 2006. The television mini-series follows the lives and times of the most historic Impressionist painters, including Clude Monet, Edgar Degas, Paul Cezanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edouard Manet.
The series is told through the words of Claude Monet. The senior Monet is played by Julian Glover, while Richard Armitage plays the youthful Monet. The stories of Renoir (Charlie Condou), Degar (Aden Gillet), Manet (Andrew Havill) and Cezanne (Will Keen) are all told by Monet, who is retelling the story to an art critic (Sebastian Armesto). The story can easily translate into today’s society, as painters and others struggle for acceptance.
Although the story of these men’s personal lives are told, there is one commonality, which expands throughout the three episode series, the desire to be accepted. These men gave up pride, love, humanity and money to push forward, despite constant ridicule. Unfortunately, the success comes a little too late for many of the Impressionists.
The acting is exceptional and each role is perfectly portrayed. Richard Armitage is fabulous, as usual, but it is perhaps Will Keen, who evokes the most attention, as the unstable and eccentric Paul Cezanne. The story, which is based on historical letters and such, is great and proves that true is usually better than fiction. As the painters finish their masterpieces, it is difficult not to feel a sense of triumph, despite the ridicule they’ve received.
In the end, the men came together with a common goal, which was eventually achieved. The loyalty amongst the men is very fitting, as is their historic significance on the art world, which is bound together by a singular term, Impressionist. As they lived, worked, strived and struggled together, they will forever be remembered together, as a group under a universally known term.
Despite only being 3 episodes, The Impressionists holds more value and significance than shows with 20 episode seasons. If you want to relive the rise of the Impressionist, BBC’s The Impressionist is the best way to do it! It would be great, if BBC would put together a sequel focusing on Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin. The tumultuous relationship of the men would undoubtedly be very interesting.
Overall, the show is wonderful and well worth checking out, whether or not you’re a fan of their works. It deserves a 9 out of 10!