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The Art of Russia: Out of the Forest

   2009    Art
Art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon tells the incredible story of Russian art, its mystery and magnificence and until now a story untold. He explores the origins of the Russian icon from its roots in Byzantium and the first great Russian icon, Our Lady of Vladimir to the masterpieces of the country's most famous icon painter, Andrei Rublev. Both epic and awe-inspiring, and producing brilliant art", nevertheless medieval Russia could be a terrifying place. Criss-crossing the epic landscape, Andrew visits the monastery founded by Ivan the Terrible, where his favourite forms of torture found inspiration in religious art. One man would shine a light into Russia's 'dark' ages - Peter the Great who, surprisingly, took as his inspiration Deptford in South London.
Series: The Art of Russia

Private Life of a Christmas Masterpiece: The Adoration of the Christ Child

   2010    Art
Painted over five centuries ago, Filippo Lippi's nativity is like none other: it shows the birth of Christ in a dark, wooded wilderness. There are no shepherds, kings, ox, ass – there is no Joseph. Its beauty inspired Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli. But it also conceals a deeply personal story. It was painted for Cosimo de Medici, a wealthy banker who feared that his money was dragging him straight to hell. The artist's life was equally surprising. One of the most celebrated painters of his day, Filippo Lippi was also a Carmelite friar, but he was no stranger to the temptations of the flesh, to which he frequently yielded. Shortly before painting his Adoration, he caused uproar by seducing a twenty year-old nun. His paintings rejoice not only in divine beauty, but in the beauty of women. In later times, the Adoration's history was interwoven with that of rulers and dictators. It became a bargaining chip after Napoleon's allies seized twenty merchant ships. And in the 20th century, it was hidden by the Nazis in a potassium mine, where specialist american officers, known as Monuments Men, stumbled upon it. they were now told to get it ready to be shipped out. In an unprecedented turn of events they refused. This is the only known case in the whole of the Second World War of American officers refusing an order. It was sent to the National Gallery of Art, but in 1949 Lippi's Adoration was returned to Germany.

The Medici: Makers of Modern Art

   2008    Art
Andrew Graham-Dixon reveals how the Medici family transformed Florence through sculpture, painting and architecture and created a world where masterpieces fetch millions today. Without the money and patronage of the Medici we might never have heard of artists such as Donatello, Michelangelo or Botticelli, and Graham-Dixon examines how a family of shadowy, corrupt businessmen, driven by greed and ambition, became the financial engine behind the Italian Renaissance.

The Buddha

   2010    History
After 400 BC, a new philosophy was born in South east Asia, generated from the ideas of Buddha, a mysterious Prince from India who gained enlightenment while he sat under a large, shapely fig tree. He remains one of the most legendary and influential of all religious progenitors, but what of his actual life? In this biographical documentary, director David Grubin tells the historical tale of Gautama Buddha (563-483 BC), from his initial enlightenment through his death around the age of 80. In the process, Grubin makes an unusual point: that Gautama never once claimed to be God or God's emissary, but instead sought to find a way to bring peace and alleviation from suffering to others in a cruel and often insane world. In telling this story, Grubin combines a number of elements including original animations, testimony by contemporary Buddhists such as the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, glimpses of sculptures and paintings that help tell Gautama's story, and much more. Narrated by Richard Gere

Dream and Machine

   2010    Art
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.
Series: The Art of Germany
The Life of Birds
The Life of Birds

   1998    Nature
Top Gear
Top Gear

   2012    Technology
Shine a Light
Shine a Light

   2008    Art
Bible's Buried Secrets
Bible's Buried Secrets

   2011    Culture
Planet Earth II
Planet Earth II

   2016    Nature
Through the Wormhole
Through the Wormhole

   2011    Science
The Art of Russia
The Art of Russia

   2009    Art