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Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
Topic - Simon Schama
How do you turn the stuffy subject of fine art into a television show with popular appeal? In 1969, British art historian Kenneth Clark succeeded by relating his personal views on painting and sculpture and explaining how the works reflected their times. His BBC series, simply called "Civilisation," still holds up as an erudite yet accessible primer on Western European culture.
"Eloquence doesn't always come with a pretty face," he says.
Mr. Schama, an art history professor at Columbia University, is entitled to his picks, but when he declares van Gogh's 1890 "Wheat Field With Crows" is "the painting that begins modern art," ignoring pioneering works made decades earlier, you start to wonder about his judgment.