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Birth of the British Novel

   2011    Art
Author Henry Hitchings explores the lives and works of Britain's radical and pioneering 18th-century novelists who, in just 80 years, established all the literary genres we recognise today. It was a golden age of creativity led by Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Fanny Burney and William Godwin, amongst others. Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver's Travels, Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy are novels that still sparkle with audacity and innovation. On his journey through 18th-century fiction, Hitchings reveals how the novel was more than mere entertainment, it was also a subversive hand-grenade that would change British society for the better. He travels from the homes of Britain's great and good to its lowliest prisons, meeting contemporary writers like Martin Amis, Will Self, Tom McCarthy and Jenny Uglow on the way.

Bomb It

   2008    Art
Filmmaker Jonathan Reiss offers a multilingual look at the evolution of graffiti in a documentary that begins by examining ancient rock paintings and traces the trend straight through to the works of Picasso and 1970s-era New York City hip-hop culture. Shot on five continents using guerilla filmmaking techniques, Bomb It aims to give viewers a newfound appreciation of graffiti culture by exploring the origins of street art and interviewing the artists about their tactics and motivations.

Caravaggio

   2006    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."
Series: Power of Art

Christ of St John of the Cross by Salvador Dali

       Art
Salvador Dali's strange crucifixion is often called the greatest religious painting of the 20th century. Yet its artist was a notorious blasphemer some of whose work had outraged the Catholic Church. The Christ of St John of the Cross by Salvador Dali is the first of two extraordinary crucifixions painted by Dali in the early 1950s. The painting is based on a 'cosmic dream' Dali is said to have had, in which the nucleus of the atom was a figure of Christ himself.
The painting offers a surrealist view of the crucifixion of Christ, and is based on a drawing by the 16th century Spanish friar Saint John of the Cross. But Dali's vision was somewhat unique, using an unusual artistic perspective in which Christ is seen from above. His Christ of St. John of The Cross was inspired by a weird mix of Spanish mysticism and nuclear physics, with his Christ being modelled by a Hollywood stuntman. It's also a masterpiece of painting technique.
Series: The Private Life of a Masterpiece

Clash of the Gods: Tolkien Monsters

   2009    Art
Enter creator J.R.R. Tolkien's fantastical world of hobbits, orcs and wizards, and uncover the real life influences that shaped his epic fantasy, 'The Lord of the Rings'.
Series: Clash of the Gods
How Earth Made Us
How Earth Made Us

   2010    Science
The Human Body
The Human Body

   1998    Medicine
Superstructures: Engineering Marvels
Superstructures: Engineering Marvels

   2019    Technology
Prehistoric America
Prehistoric America

   2003    Nature
Colour The Spectrum of Science
Colour The Spectrum of Science

   2015    Science
The Making of the Mob
The Making of the Mob

   2016    History
The Art of Russia
The Art of Russia

   2009    Art
Top Gear
Top Gear

   2012    Technology