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Origin of Pieces

factual culture

| 3 episodes | 50 min

available as ready made

In ‘Origin of Pieces’ we discover how misfortune, cunningness and sometimes even sheer luck determined the destiny of some of the world’s greatest masterpieces. Host Thomas Vanderveken tracks the journey of world famous paintings by Peter Paul Rubens, Pieter Bruegel and Jan Van Eyck.

The key question throughout each episode is: ‘How did this work of art end up where it is now?’ Thomas uncovers the mysteries that surround the provenance of these pieces by talking with historians, art fanatics and descendants of former owners. He takes us on a thrilling journey through time, from the battlefields of Napoleon’s Peninsular War to the bunkers of Nazi leaders. We see the walls the paintings have hung on, we learn about the hands that have handled them and the disasters they have survived. 

‘Origin of Pieces’ is not just an art documentary: it’s a road trip through world history, captivating a broad audience.

‘Origin of Pieces’ also shows the huge impact of the masterpieces, from the time they were painted to this very day. Today’s artists pay homage to these great painters and zoom in on the unique characteristics of the works. Humorous, quirky graphics share crucial facts on the paintings’ travels. From Rubens, Bruegel to Van Eyck, each episode features another legendary masterpiece.
Each with its own history, each with its own destiny.


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Original title

Weg van het meesterwerk


3 x 50


art documentary

First broadcast

Sep 4, 2019

Production company



Jeroen Bryon & Edwin Colebunders


Thomas Vanderveken