Aleksander Sokurov brings the treasures of the Hermitage back into the light by making films about artists and their paintings. He has chosen the painter Hubert Robert, who spent a long time in Italy, and whose preference was for creating ancient ruined landscapes and naturalistic portrayals of times past. He was successful with the wealthy, who bought his works from him. The camera pans across the paintings while Sokurov speaks of a happy era, when the artist was at one with the spirit of the times, and agreed with the taste of his clients. Just how far removed from us this is, is shown by pictures of a "Nô" performance which are inter-cut on the screen. No words are necessary to describe what everybody knows today.
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