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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

Art of Spain: The Moorish South

   2008    Art
Travelling from the unique Muslim contribution in the medieval south, Andrew Graham-Dixon immerses himself in true Spanish culture and meets the people who live and work with this artistic legacy. He looks at Muslim political and cultural influence as he travels from Cordoba to Granada, seeing classic buildings such as the Great Mosque in Cordoba, the Alcazar in Seville and the Alhambra in Granada. He also shows how the Moors introduced new foods – including citrus fruits, coffee and spices
Series: Art of Spain

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

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

Jacques-Louis David

   2006    Art
Painting became an important means of communication for David since his face was slashed during a sword fight and his speech became impeded by a benign tumour that developed from the wound, leading him to stammer. He was interested in painting in a new classical style that departed from the frivolity of the Rococo period and reflected the moral and austere climate before the French Revolution. David became closely aligned with the republican government and his work was increasingly used as propaganda with the Death of Marat proving his most controversial work.
Series: Power of Art
Reel Rock
Reel Rock

   2014    Culture
Racism: A History
Racism: A History

   2007    Culture
Vegan
Vegan

   2019    Culture
Life
Life

   2009    Nature
The Men Who Built America
The Men Who Built America

   2012    History
Bronze Age
Bronze Age

   2016    History
Mind Field Season 1
Mind Field Season 1

   2017    Medicine