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Art of Spain: The Dark Heart
Graham-Dixon journeys to the country’s scorched centre to explore Spanish art of the 16th and 17th centuries. From the mystical world of El Greco to the tender genius of Velazquez, this was a moment so extraordinary it became known as the Golden Age. But beneath the glittering surface was a dark and savage heart. Travelling from the architectural jewel of Toledo to majestic Madrid, Andrew Graham-Dixon traces the rise and fall of the Spanish Empire, the brutal conquest of the New World, and the religious madness of the Inquisition, to discover how a history so violent could produce some of the most beautiful art ever seen.
Art of Spain
Born in Naples, Bernini was an exceptional talent from an early age and went on to dominate the art world of 17th century Rome. His work epitomised the Baroque style and his sculpture, church interiors and exteriors and town planning could be seen everywhere. Bernini worked under successive Popes; Pope Gregory XV made him a knight and Pope Urban VIII made him as his best friend. He was revered in his time until a jealous rage caused him to have the face of his mistress slashed after discovering her romance with his brother. His reputation fell further after his bell towers for the Cathedral of St Peter's started cracking in 1641. He redeemed himself and kick started his career again with what is arguably his most famous work, The Ecstasy of St Theresa, in 1652.
Power of Art
Caravaggio's approach to painting was unconventional. He avoided the standard method of making copies of old sculptures and instead took the more direct approach of painting directly onto canvas without drawing first. He also used people from the street as his models. His dramatic painting was enhanced with intense and theatrical lighting. Caravaggio's fate was sealed when he killed a man in a duel in 1606. He fled to Naples where he attempted to paint his way out of trouble, he became a Knight, but was then imprisoned in Malta and then finally moved to Sicily. He was pardoned for murder in 1610, but died of a fever when attempting to return to Rome. For me the power of Caravaggio's art is the power of truth, not least the truth about ourselves. If we are ever to hope for redemption we have to start from the recognition that the Goliath competes with the David in all of us."
Power of Art
Dinosaurs Myths and Monsters
From dinosaurs to mammoths, when our ancient ancestors encountered the fossil bones of extinct prehistoric creatures, what did they think they were? Just like us, ancient peoples were fascinated by the giant bones they found in the ground. Historian Tom Holland goes on a journey of discovery to explore the fascinating ways in which our ancestors sought to explain the remains of dinosaurs and other giant prehistoric creatures, and how bones and fossils have shaped and affected human culture.
In Classical Greece, petrified bones were exhibited in temples as the remains of a long-lost race of colossal heroes. Chinese tales of dragons may well have had their origins in the great fossil beds of the Gobi desert. In the Middle Ages, Christians believed that mysterious bones found in rock were the remains of giants drowned in Noah's Flood.
Tom encounters a medieval sculpture that is the first known reconstruction of a monster from a fossil, and learns about the Native Americans stories, told for generations, which contained clues that led bone hunters to some of the greatest dinosaur finds of the nineteenth century.
Dream and Machine
Andrew Graham-Dixon continues his exploration of German art by looking at the tumultuous 19th and early 20th centuries, and how artists were at the forefront of Germany's drive to become a single nation. Andrew travels to the north and the coastal town of Griefswald, the birthplace of Caspar David Friedrich, the most influential of the German Romantics, to discover how the Baltic coast impacted his mysterious paintings of the German landscape. He also visits Berlin and explores the art of the powerful Prussian state, which would spearhead the unification of Germany in 1871. The episode ends with the outbreak of World War I and the attempts of the artists Franz Marc and Otto Dix to rationalise the catastrophic experiences of the world's first technological war, a war driven by the Prussian innovations.
The Art of Germany
George Harrison Living in the Material World
The Nazis, A Warning From History
Survivors Guide to Prison
Illuminations: the private lives of medieval kings
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