National Gallery

Frederick Wiseman
FRA, USA 2014
174 min

NATIONAL GALLERY takes the audience behind the scenes of a London institution, on a journey to the heart of a museum inhabited by masterpieces of Western art from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. This film is the portrait of a place, its way of working and relations with the world, its staff and public, and its paintings. In a perpetual and dizzying game of mirrors, film watches painting watches film.
“How to film paintings? It’s an exceedingly complex issue, especially bearing in mind the large number of artworks. The guiding principle was to break the frame – the framing and hanging of the paintings – in order to step into the picture. To do so, I used an approach similar to making a film, alternating between wide shots and close-ups, and then working on the depth of field in the paintings. On film, the painting comes to life if you don’t see the wall, frame, or card to one side with the artist’s name, title, date and technical details. Then, the painting becomes an object. My aim was to suggest that the painting is alive and tells a story all of its own.” (Frederick Wiseman)

  • Frederick Wiseman
  • John Davey
  • Frederick Wiseman
  • Frederick Wiseman
Idéale Audience, Gallery Film, Canal+, Planete+, Le Fresnoy

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