Segments in this Video

Capturing Night Time (01:54)


In this film, Waldemar Januszczak will explore the relationship between art and night, and its connotations to poetry, mystery and madness.

"Sun Tunnels" (03:20)

Learn how American land artist Nancy Holt's Utah desert sculpture marks the solstices and expresses dusk.

Painting at Night (01:27)

Before electricity, artists had to use candles to paint in the dark—but unreliable light sources weren't an issue for those expressing inner visions.

Cave Paintings (01:26)

The first human drawings were produced in the dark. Flickering torches produced shadows and the artists relied on their imagination.

Imagining Nativity (03:45)

The Bible has provided no physical description of Jesus' birth; learn how St. Brigid's 14th century vision of the event occurring at night has become the default visual representation in Western art.

"The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tolp" (02:25)

Nativity compositional elements have appeared in secular art. In Rembrandt's portrait, pupils are hunched around a corpse that glows in the dark. Mystical properties of early science were echoed in Joseph Wright's "Experiment of a Bird in an Air Pump."

"Chairs" (02:30)

The night sky has been a popular subject among artists such as Vincent Van Gogh. Januszczak analyzes still lives of his and Gaugin's empty chairs, painted at night.

"Cafe Terrace at Night" (01:57)

Van Gogh's depiction of the Yellow House at Arles shows gas street lamps being installed, lighting the night for cafe patrons. Learn about his love of stars.

"Starry Night" Comparison (02:55)

Januszczak discusses Van Gogh's "Starry Night over the River Rhone" and "The Starry Night," painted before and after his mental breakdown. Learn how he associated stars with dead poets and committed suicide to join his friends.

"Night Cafe at Arles" (00:55)

Learn the background of Van Gogh's dive bar scene.

"Nighthawks" (05:05)

Januszczak discusses Edward Hopper's voyeuristic private room series, and explains how Hemingway's short story "The Killers" inspired his enigmatic diner scene.

"House by the Railroad" (01:31)

Januszczak discusses Hopper's mansion, inspiring Hitchcock's thriller "Psycho" and "The Addams Family."

"Interpretation of Dreams" (03:01)

Architecture played an important role in surrealist nocturnal imaginings. Learn how the house represents childhood memories and rooms portray women, according to Freud's theory—such as Dali's painting of Mae West's face.

"Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" (03:24)

Januszczak discusses Dorothea Tanning's mundane childhood and analyzes her surreal night scene in terms of unconscious anxiety.

Moon Symbolism (01:35)

Januszczak discusses the dichotomy between lunacy and romance in cultural references.

"Immaculate Conception" (04:20)

Januszczak clarifies that the Immaculate Conception represents Mary being born without sin. Learn how she was first represented as standing on the moon, with a crown of stars, by Baroque Spanish artists Francisco Pacheco and Diego Velázquez.

O. Winston Link (02:59)

Januszczak discusses the romanticism of steam trains, captured by the American photographer and machinery enthusiast in the 1950s.

Surreal Train Photographs (03:02)

The Norfolk and Western Railway was the final steam train line. View Link's '50s images and learn how he rigged flashbulb systems to overcome challenges of shooting at night.

"Isenheim Altarpiece" (03:07)

At night, the imagination runs wild and we lose perspective. Hear a passage from St. Matthew about Christ's suffering and view Matthias Grünewald's 1515 crucifixion painting, set during an eclipse.

St. Anthony's Fire (03:25)

Medieval Antonite monks cared for people suffering from ergotism, caused by a rye fungus. View Matthias Grünewald's painting of victims and their hallucinations. The Isenheim Altarpiece was painted to give them hope.

"Impression, Sunrise" Debate (05:14)

At "Sun Tunnels" in the Utah desert, Januszczak uses a Paris map and recordings of sunrise and sunset to prove that Monet painted his iconic scene at sunrise.

Credits: Art of the Night (00:45)

Credits: Art of the Night

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Art of the Night

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Painting at night is difficult and problematic, so why have so many great artists taken on the challenge? Renowned art critic and presenter Waldemar Januszczak travels across the globe on a fascinating visual journey exploring art’s edgy relationship with the night, celebrating the nocturnal art of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Velazquez, Hopper, Magritte and Monet. From the dramatic stories behind Hopper's iconic Nighthawks and Van Gogh's intruiging Starry Night to the truth behind Monet's genre-defining Impression Sunrise, Januszczak leaves no stone unturned as he tries to discover why the dark adds so much extra drama and mystery to art throughout the ages.

Length: 61 minutes

Item#: BVL55556

ISBN: 978-0-81609-101-0

Copyright date: ©2013

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.