The Antagonists – Rivalry in Art: Turner vs Constable

London 1832: the Royal Academy has invited to its yearly exhibition. It is no coincidence that the two great rivals in English landscape painting – William Turner and John Constable – are hanging side by side. In the very last moment before the opening, however, Turner manages to outdo his rival through a single dab of colour completely changing everything!

London 1832 – the 64th edition of the Royal Academy of Arts is to be opened in two days to come. Two paintings of the great British landscape painters John Constable (1776 – 1837) and William Turner (1775 – 1851) are hanging side by side in the exhibition room. Before the grand opening the artists are allowed to apply last brushstrokes. Day after day Turner keeps a wary eye on the two paintings, looking over Constable’s shoulder. Finally he resolutely returns to the exhibition room with paintbrush and palette and adds a red buoy to his monochromatic painting. Constable immediately understands and is dismayed writing, “He has been here and fired a gun.”

About the series:

Two outstanding artists, one location, and an acrimonious rivalry – these are the key ingredients for the three-part series “The Antagonists: Rivalry in Art” which deals with envy and burning ambition, drive and the desire to reach new heights of artistic creation, as well as failure and the triumph of success. At the heart of each episode lies a conflict and a break with tradition that will eventually lead to innovation. Through their rivalry we will come to understand their real character and their true story will be revealed.

Documentary D, 2017, 52 min.
First Broadcast: 26.11.2017

A film by: Andreas Gräfenstein
Author: Andreas Gräfenstein, Lucie Tamborini
DOP: Philipp Baben der Erde
Sound: Robert Sandow
Editing: Anne Kliem
Animation: Andreea Wende, Michael Wende, Tom Degel
Voice: Hansi Jochmann
Postproduction: Franziska Frahm
Colour Grading: Jan Hartmann
Sound-Editing: Jörn Steinhoff
Production Management: Maximilian Reich
Producer: Bernhard von Hülsen, Maria Willer
Commissioning Editor (ZDF): Dieter Schneider

Produced by 3B-Produktion GmbH, commissioned by ZDF in co-production with Arte.

©2017 ZDF/3B Produktion