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Artists' Special DVD Collection


Rated: G

Availability: In stock



Language: English

Running Time: 360 minutes

Number of Discs: 6



This set is a great collection of six HBO Original films on the lives of some of the most famous artists in history. In each special, the featured artist, at a major turning point in his or her life, crosses paths with a young person. From their encounters come stories that inform and entertain children and adults alike. Viewers are exposed to the most famous paintings by these creative geniuses and learn about their lives through the interactions with the children they befriend.

-Degas and the Dancer
-Cassatt: American Impressionist
-Monet: Shadow and Light
-Goya: Awakened in a Dream
-Rembrandt: Fathers and Sons
-Homer: American Original

Degas & the Dancer
The story finds Edgar Degas (Thomas Jay Ryan) in a time of crisis following the death of his father. Saddled with debt and struggling to survive, he derives unexpected inspiration from an aspiring young ballerina named Marie (Alison Pill). Degas helps Marie tap into the incredible talent she doesn't believe she has, especially when compared to her beautiful and confident sister Pauline (Kathryn Long) who is also a ballerina. At the same time, Marie convinces Degas to persevere in the face of relentless criticism from the Parisian art establishment. In the hours they spend together as artist and model, they become friends and confidantes, finding in each other what they most need to move forward and follow their dreams.

Mary Cassatt: American Impressionist
The story is of American Mary Cassatt in Paris in the last century. She was one of the Impressionists and a close friend of the great artist Edgar Degas (Thomas Jay Ryan). Cassatt (Amy Brenneman) is an intelligent, charming and fiercely independent artist with an ordered life in Paris, until her brother and his wife arrive with their three unruly children. At first dreading the presence of the children, she soon finds herself inspired by them and even uses them as models. Her teenage niece Katherine (Charlotte Sullivan), who believes that getting married is essential to positioning oneself in society, plays matchmaker between Cassatt and Edgar Degas. Though the match is not meant to be, Cassatt's feminist ideals greatly influence Katherine and change her life forever and for the better. Likewise, the influence of the children soften Cassatt and inspire her to renew stronger contact with her family back in Philadelphia.

Monet: Shadow & Light
The story is of Claude Monet in 1869 at the very beginning of the Impressionist movement. In a small town on the banks of the Seine outside Paris, Monet (Stuart Hughes) is experimenting with his revolutionary new painting style. He is passionate about color, light and nature he and his friend Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Richard Clarkin) spend days on end perfecting their canvasses that are shimmering reflections of the local landscapes. Monet has little success selling his works, but he remains an optimist. He is also proud, and extremely committed to his art, so much so that his rich father cuts him off from his only source of income, a family allowance. Luckily Monet has a friend in aspiring young artist Daniel (Trevor Blumas), who is the son of his landlady. Daniel also has mixed feelings about his father, who he believes has run off to Avignon to paint. Monet gradually becomes both a mentor and father-figure in the boy's life, as Daniel even skips school to accompany Monet on his painting excursions. This greatly dismays the boy's mother (Maggie Huculak) who has just evicted Monet from the inn with great fanfare. But when Daniel finally learns the truth - that his father has abandoned him - Monet is the only one who can reach through to him. Though they both feel like giving up, together they see through these difficult times. In doing so they teach each other the importance of holding on to goals and dreams.

Goya: Awakened In A Dream
The story opens with young Rosarita (Jaclyn Blumas) helping to find a new home where her mother, Leocadia (Shannon Lawson), can work as a housekeeper. A run-in with Francisco de Goya (Cedric Smith) at the local church turns out to be a blessing. Enchanted by Rosarita's artistic talent, Goya agrees to hire Leocadia. A visit to the royal palace to gather Goya's belongings turns disastrous when he is questioned about his art by the king's Inquisitor Garcini (Jan Filips). Goya's haughty son, Javier (Robert Bockstael) manages to cover for his father. Finally, Goya and his new companions set out for his humble new home in the country. When Goya turns gravely ill, it is Rosarita who has the most faith. Just when it seems that the great artist no longer has the strength to continue, she convinces him to keep fighting. Recovered and with newfound inspiration, Goya begins an ambitious work directly on the walls of his dining room, The Black Paintings.

Rembrandt: Fathers & Sons
The film is set in 1614 when Rembrandt (Tom McCamus) is the portrait painter of choice for Amsterdam's bourgeoisie thanks in part to his well-connected and beautiful young wife Saskia (Kari Matchett). However, he finds himself less challenged by portraits of the rich and famous, so he indulges himself by purchasing art and other rare and beautiful objects for his collection. As well, he becomes caught up in the trails of his young neighbour Samuel (Mitchell Rothpan), who is locked in fierce adolescent rebellion against his father, the respected Rabbi Menasseh Ben Israel (Paul Hecht). Samuel refuses to become a scholar like his father. As a compromise, Rembrandt and the pregnant Saskia, propose that Samuel become a studio apprentice while he waits for word from his uncle and a ship to take him to the new world. The arrangement brings an unexpected surprise when Rembrandt learns that the boy's true talent lies in the art of printing. Through his friendship with Rembrandt, Samuel has found his future vocation and the courage to accept his family heritage. Samuel's struggle also reveals to Rembrandt how constrained he feels by artistic conventions. In the end, he follows his heart, and dares to transform a formal set into a dramatic tableau of a moment in history in The Nightwatch.

Winslow Homer: An American Original
The film is set in 1874, by which time Winslow Homer (Wayne Best) had seen and recorded enough of the horrors of the Civil War. Leaving the battlefield and his post as illustrator for Harpers' Weekly behind, he is at Houghton Farm to be alone, refocus and paint. Breathing in the fresh air, he sets up his easel at the nearby river. A truant boy, Gabe (Ryan Deboer) fires his slingshot directly at Homer, sending brushes and paints floating downstream. Then a mysterious, babbling girl named Fee (Tamara Hope) appears out of the woods to follow the painter. The children are fascinated with Homer and his art and he has no choice but to show them his studio. Since he can't get rid of them, Homer asks them to be his models. As they pose, Gabe and Fee become fast friends. A rift between the children leaves Homer at a loss to complete the paintings he's started, so he does his best to bring them together. The two youngsters together with Homer eventually share the truth about their lives and what the war had done to their families, and to themselves. Through their ability to share their feelings, to escape the fear and shadows of the Civil War, all three of them discover that the present has more to offer than the ghosts of their past.

About Devine Entertainment:
Devine is an award-winning Canadian-based developer, producer and distributor of high-quality feature films based on historical and timeless stories. The Company's intention is to produce positive and meaningful films that emphasize human values and focus on art, inspiration, and personal expression and simultaneously entertain and educate its principal audience of children from ages six to fourteen years old. The Company's productions are designed to make viewing films a compelling family activity that encourages intellectual interaction. The Company's films have been honored with over 110 international awards, including five Emmy Awards and five Gemini Awards.