Essex expert co-hosts new art history TV series

  • Date

    Thu 22 Nov 18

Dr Matt Lodder on the set of his new TV series

Essex art historian Dr Matt Lodder is co-hosting a new European television series aiming to bring the world’s most famous art museums to a wider audience.

The Art of Museums presents a unique portrait of the world’s most distinguished galleries through the eyes of each episode’s celebrity host, who relates the artworks to their own life experiences. 

Dr Lodder provides expert commentary throughout the series, describing the drama behind each painting. Hear Dr Lodder talk about the programme and how its philosophy matches the way he thinks about teaching art history:

Dr Lodder also said: “Most art history programmes are very mono-vocal. It’s normally a grey-haired white man in a tweed suit, in front of a picture telling you what it means. They’re based on the idea that responses to art are very didactic and you need all this knowledge to understand it. I think that can put people off art and it becomes very exclusive. 

“This show is about people simply responding to images, and it tries to demystify museums and encourage people to think ‘I don’t need any prior knowledge, I can just go in and experience the work’.”

“And this is how I think about art in general. Earlier in my career I noticed the more art history students learn, the less they feel able to respond to things spontaneously. It’s been my underlying philosophy ever since to give students the ability to respond to art quickly and emotionally, before applying more intellectual knowledge. That ethos is reflected in this show.”

The series features eight museums and eight of the world’s top creatives. 

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood discusses paintings in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in the context of her advocacy for social justice and female empowerment. 

Best-selling author Karl Ove Knausgård tours the Munch Museum, facing one of the most expensive paintings in history – Munch’s ‘The Scream’ – and contemplating its uncanny portrayal of modern anxiety.

Two episodes were premiered at Cannes and the series will be shown on European culture channel Arte from 25 November and Austrian national broadcaster Orf from 10 December. 

Photo credit: Konrad Waldmann