Picasso airbrushed out of history in new TV art series

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The Independent Online

A series on great artists is to be screened by Channel 5, starting next week – but the list of 14 masters chosen by the "sex and soaps" station excludes one of art's biggest names, Picasso.

Also absent from the programme, which will be shown at 7pm on Tuesdays, will be the French Impressionists. There is no room for Renoir, Monet, Degas or Cézanne. In their place will be less well known figures such as the German Renaissance painter and engraver Albrecht Dürer.

Phil Grabsky, executive producer of the series, said: "Some names immediately throw themselves forward. Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael immediately suggested themselves. Where it became more interesting was which artists you could look at that people probably wouldn't know. They might turn on for Leonardo but not for Dürer, but we thought we had to balance it and take some risks."

Constable fell by the wayside when the programme makers realised there was no room both for him and Turner. Mr Grabsky said: "You can make cases for some individuals but, at the end of the day, you just keep coming back to certain names. Sometimes one has to accept that Leonardo and Michelangelo and Raphael are just extraordinary artists."

But what of Picasso? Apparently the artist, whose work commands the highest prices at auction, was too expensive to use in a programme because of the high costs of reproduction rights.

The 14 artists to be featured, in running order, are: Giotto; Leonardo; Dürer; Michelangelo; Raphael; Titian; Bruegel; El Greco; Rubens; Velazquez; Rembrant; Vermeer; Turner and Van Gogh.