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The Art of Persuasion

   2006    Culture
Dr Nigel Spivey shows how The political power of art was discovered by kings and emperors in the ancient world, It was these leaders who first used imagery to manipulate their subjects, And today our modern politicians are exploiting those same visual strategies, This is the story of how those ancient leaders created techniques of visual persuasion so powerful they've still got a hold on us today.
Series: How Art Made the World

The Day Pictures Were Born

   2006    Art
Dr Nigel Spivey explores how art influences life by tracing the development of the image from cave paintings to our modern obsession with images. Dr. Spivey begins his investigation by travelling to the Cave of Altamira near the town of Santillana del Mar in Cantabria, Spain, where in 1879 a young girls exclamation of 'Papa, look, oxen!' to her father, local amateur archaeologist Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola, is explained to have meant that Maria had just become the first modern human to set eyes on the first gallery of prehistoric paintings ever to be discovered.
Series: How Art Made the World

Adoration in the Forest

   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.
Series: The Private Life of a Masterpiece

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

Cartoon Maps

   2010    Culture
The series concludes by delving into the world of satirical maps. How did maps take on a new form, not as geographical tools, but as devices for humour, satire or storytelling? Graphic Artist Fred Rose perfectly captured the public mood in 1880 with his General Election maps featuring Gladstone and Disraeli, using the maps to comment upon crucial election issues still familiar to us today. Technology was on the satirist's side with the advent of high-speed printing allowing for larger runs at lower cost. In 1877, when Rose produced his 'Serio Comic Map of Europe at War', maps began to take on a new direction and form, reflecting a changing world. Rose's map exploited these possibilities to the full using a combination of creatures and human figures to represent each European nation. The personification of Russia as a grotesque-looking octopus, extending its tentacles around the surrounding nations, perfectly symbolised the threat the country posed to its neighbours.
Series: The Beauty of Maps
Nova Wonders
Nova Wonders

   2018    Technology
The Cell
The Cell

   2009    Science
One Strange Rock
One Strange Rock

   2018    Nature
Apocalypse: World War 1
Apocalypse: World War 1

   2014    History
Secrets of the Dead
Secrets of the Dead

   2017    History
Breakthrough
Breakthrough

   2015    Medicine
Cosmos
Cosmos

   1980    Science