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Masterpieces – How paintings become icons

Documentary for DW TV Station

Everyone is familiar with Leonardo da Vincis the »Mona Lisa« or Johannes Vermeers »The Girl with the Pearl Earring«. The masterpieces of art history fascinate people and attract tens of thousands of visitors every year to the museums in which they are exhibited. They are tourist magnets of constant appeal.

The documentary »Masterpieces – How paintings become icons«, presented by Arts.21 of Deutsche Welle, visits five major museums in Europe and shows their most important paintings – icons of our time. Curators and museum directors talk about the history and popularity of the respective works of art. Why, for example, is the way of presenting a picture in museums an important factor in the reputation of an oeuvre? The documentation explains which features a painting needs, so that it is quoted and copied so often.

In order to illustrate how the works reached their cult status, we show numerous current reproductions and also meet artists, designers and advertisers who work with the original motifs. They outline why a centuries-old painting is suitable for reinterpretation. Why does the Mona Lisa, painted in the early sixteenth century, still work as a motif for a publicity campaign, for example, and why is »The Kiss« by Gustav Klimt unbeatable as a marketing product? What role does the personality of the artist play for the fame of a masterpiece? Can a theft or scandalous exhibition opening increase it? These questions allow us to discover similarities that explain why these paintings, of all places, achieved cult status.

The 26-minute documentary »Masterpieces – How paintings become icons« travels to the most important museums in Europe and tells how five images of art history became icons of our pop culture.


Deutsche Welle TV | Kultur.21


International Masterpieces


February - October 2015


  • Research, organization and planning of the film production in europe
  • Shooting with own equipment (Sony FS7, Nikon D800)
  • directing and interviews
  • Post production and color grading with AVID Symphony on MacPro
  • Research and music selection
  • Writing the off-text for the speaker
  • Transcoding for HD exploitation