Richard Armitage + Claude Monet retrospective

Richard Armitage as Claude Monet in episode 2 of The Impressionists. Source:


I’m wrapped up in a long writing project for the blog at the moment — made a lot of progress but it’s still going to take some time. To divert you in the meantime, if you’re not preoccupied by listening to all of the soundtrack for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, (I admit that I’m starting to feel like I’ve reached some kind of saturation point on “pre” releases and now I am going to enjoy the publicity but wait for the film itself so that I am spared a few enjoyable surprises for when I actually see it), I thought I’d point you to this old radio interview with Richard Armitage, which is available at Richard Armitage Online. He’s being interviewed in the leadup to the initial broadcast of The Impressionists by Simon Mayo on BBC Radio Five; the broadcast date was April 19, 2006. I think I must have missed it earlier, as I didn’t remember it at all and listened with interest. In any case, it’s eighteen minutes long, so even if what you mainly want is some of that luscious voice, it’s good for that. Otherwise, its content can best be summarized as incongruous: Mayo asks Armitage a lot of questions about impressionist painting and his take on the impressionist painters, and then takes listener questions, almost all of which are pure gush. The interviewer insults the questions (and by implication, the listeners) and Armitage, as is typical, shows nothing but respect for his fans.

I was intrigued to find this interview, just because Mr. Armitage doesn’t usually get such sophisticated questions from interviewers these days, and I would suggest it’s definitely worth a relisten — even though I am on record as not admiring Monet as a person and not liking impressionist painting at all. There’s this disarming moment when he’s asked what he knew about Monet before playing him, and he mentions that he’d eaten a meal with a Monet painting on the place mat and sent Mother’s Day cards with Monet motifs. As a teaser, I’ll note that Armitage says, in reply to the question about whether he has a favorite Monet painting, that he found it in Paris, a “very grey” painting of the Houses of Parliament. He doesn’t say where in Paris he saw the piece, but wikipedia says there are two paintings from Monet’s “Houses of Parliament” series (1900-05) on public view in Paris.

One is at the Musรฉe d’Orsay. I’ve seen this one myself:

Claude Monet, “Londres, le Parlement. Trouรฉe de soleil dans le brouillard” (1904). Oil on canvas. Source.

And the second is at the Musรฉe Marmottan Monet (a museum whose existence I was unaware of, although I see now that they have a collection of illuminated manuscripts, which are more my speed):

Claude Monet, “Londres. Le Parlement. Reflets sur la Tamise” (1905). Oil on canvas. Source.

~ by Servetus on November 13, 2012.

44 Responses to “Richard Armitage + Claude Monet retrospective”

  1. I haven’t heard this one…thanks for bringing it up. I like listening/watching these interviews – doubly so if they’re less vapid. I am actually dreading some of the promo interviews for The Hobbit – especially in the US. Is it possible that the circus thing won’t come up for the umpteenth time because US media isn’t familiar with it – somehow I doubt it? I’m getting mental image of RA going over this ground AGAIN with Kelly Ripa or someone – UGH


    • I’m praying for Ellen de Generes and against Kelly Ripa …


      • From your lips to G-d’s ears! I don’t know if even Ellen will walk away from that one – but on the plus side we might see a little dancin’ ๐Ÿ™‚ Did you see her interview with Russel Brand – she actually looked scared for a minute!


        • I am interspersing my watching of RA with watching Ellen on Youtube and I love her show. We do have her here in the UK, about a week or so behind. I think she would do a great interview. I was trying to see what was coming up on her website but there is only the following week.


        • Yes to ELLEN!! Btw she’s surely to make fun of the AArmy ๐Ÿ˜‰ and we should for sure inform her about his mean tango!! Ok I adore this interview so much for several reasons! not in the least that it was in the UK via a boyfriend and his mom who both loved Monet I truly discovered him and this is all years before I even heard if RA! I happen to enjoy the exuberance he brings to Monet. But before I had seen The Impressionist (mind am no art scholar) I was lucky enough to go around some of the gardens in France, Giverny was our last stop. I recently revisited another interview, the lengthy candid one from Strike Back! Really looking forward to the press junkets – some of these should be really fun!


        • @Obscura: R.Brand? … who wouldn’t be scared? ๐Ÿ˜‰


  2. Thank you for pointing this interview out – I hadn’t heard it, and I loved it! I actually thought the interviewer was competent, unlike many interviewers of RA. Anyway, RA was well-spoken and articulate as always, and he’s just so adorbs when he talks about his fans I CAN’T STAND IT I TELL YOU… :: love-tackle ::

    and boy, was RA wrong-o on the homoerotic overtones in Robin Hood…. LOL! Maybe that wasn’t in the script to begin with but it sure came out in the performances. Hot-cha!


    • yeah; it was early days. And who knows what his definition of homoerotic was, either — it might be different than ours ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Can we still expect The Hobbit cast Nov 28th on the Today show? I put it on my calendar & forget who told me or where I read! I’m guessing the week after?


  4. Thanks Serv for this interview, up to now I must have overseen it. This wasn’t one of the moments of glory for the Armitage Army concerning the questions (LOL) yet still it is a very unagitated and lovely interview. Oh and then quite obviously, Richard was pretty proud of his army!! BTW what a refreshing and rarely seen photo !


  5. I have to admit to having heard very few of the interviews he’s done but I listed to this one whilst eating my breakfast. What a wonderful start to the day! I laughed most of the way through it…and he sounded very relaxed which was lovely! I might have squee-ed a tiny bit when I heard him list the impressionist painters…unlike Simon Mayo (who I remember fondly from his breakfast show days on Radio 1 when I was a student), he pronounced them all with a delicious French accent! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Wile trying to find this interview on the website I stumbled across one where he was interviewed by BBC Radio Leicester in 2007 which jumped out at me because of the Leicester thing…I swear you can hear him blush at the end!


  6. Is this the Tower of Saruman on that second painting?;)
    PS: Thank you Servetus I hadn’t heard that interview, my cheeks hurts from the constant and wide grins. He is lovely and may laugh at me whenever he wants (three exclamation marks) ๐Ÿ˜€


  7. Oh my goodness, that interview was new to me. Thank you, Servetus. What a great interview. I loved Richard’s considered and good-natured response to the constant teasing about his Army following. What a loveable man and what a pro! – As regards the discussion of impressionism, I was thrilled that he pointed out the almost-photographic approach of the impressionists. Impressionism was part of my art history module in my recent BA in photography (for which I am getting my degree conferred tomorrow, yeehah), and the similarities of approach between (not early but slightly later) photography and impressionist painting are striking. In any case, his competent answers show that he is a thinking actor, who prepares extensively for his roles. – I really hope we will get to hear Richard on radio and on TV for the Hobbit junket, soon.


    • Congratulations on the degree! That’s a big deal. I hope it brings you profit, pleasure, and most of all, employment.


  8. Dear Servetus, I’d just like you to know that I like you DESPITE your cool attitude towards the Impressionists ๐Ÿ˜‰


  9. I hope Richard doesn’t get called Richard Armi- tarrrrrge by too many US interviewers – it’s pronounced more like Arma-tidge in the UK. (Watch him grimace and then hide it with a smile, at the Captain America US interviews.)

    And I hope there’s no more mentions of the Armitage Army or circuses – he’s moved on a long way since those days! (And the original Armitage Army website imploded long ago and the posters all moved elsewhere.)

    Also, much as he may have wanted to move on from his original fans, he’s going to have a vast new lot soon. Maybe the devil you know, though?

    Enjoying your writings….


    • Thanks for the comment and compliment, jh, and welcome. I fear that the US interviewers will inevitably take up the circus thing, and there are already signs that interviewers are raising the fans question.

      I don’t think he ever wanted to move on from his original fans. With one exception, when it looks like he was wrong footed by a reporter (and where most of the negativity people attribute to him was added via commentary from the reporter), his statements about his fans have been complimentary and grateful. Obviously, of course, it’s in his interest to expand his fan base, but that shouldn’t trouble any of us who want to share the love ๐Ÿ™‚


  10. […] a consistent discussion from him that suggested to me that he has a great analytical intellect. I loved what he said about the historical basis of The Impressionists because of his personality and…, not because I thought it was wildly insightful, or made me understand Monet any […]


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