Photo: Courtesy of copyright 2014 Gallery Film LLC & Ideale Audience; provided courtesy of Zipporah Films
Debuts Friday, August 21 at 9 PM ET/PT on PBS (Check local listings)
The London museum, one of the world's foremost institutions, is itself portrayed as a brilliant work of art in Wiseman's 39th documentary. The filmmaker listens raptly as docents decode the great canvasses of Da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Turner; he visits with the museum's restorers as they use magnifying glasses, tinyeyedroppers, scalpels, and Q-tips to repair an infinitestimal chip; he attends administrative meetings in which senior executuves do (polite) battle with the younger ones who want the musem to become less stodgy and more welcoming to a larger cross section of the public.
But most of all, in "National Gallery" we experience the joy of spending time with the aforementioned masters as well as Vermeer and Caravaggio, Titan and Velazquez, Pissarro and Rubens, and listen to the connoisseurs who discuss the aesthetic, historical, religous and psychological underpinnings of these great masterpieces.
- Manohla Dargis, New York Times