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Travels with Vasari 2
Andrew Graham-Dixon retraces Vasari's footsteps for this captivating two-part film in a short Art of Italy season. He's an enthusiastic guide, lapsing easily into Italian conversation with the custodians of galleries and chapels who allow him a private view. From Brunelleschi's Duomo in Florence to less familiar marvels - a Donatello sculpture; Masaccio frescoes - he illustrates how rapidly ideas developed. A final treat for him - and us - is a tour of the Vasari Corridor, a rarely accessed gallery that zigzags across the Florentine rooftops.
Travels with Vasari
One of Britain's most celebrated artists, Turner showed exceptional artistic talent from an early age and entered the Royal Academy aged fourteen. His English landscapes made his name but there was a darker side to his paintings that was difficult for the critics to swallow, both in the increasingly informal use of paint and the subject matter that was critical of the romanticised vision of Britain in the late nineteenth century.
Power of Art
Christ of St John of the Cross by Salvador Dali
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.
The Private Life of a Masterpiece
Guernica (1937) was created during Picasso's Surrealist period and captures the horror of the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. By the end of World War II, Picasso had become an internationally known artist and celebrity.
Power of Art
Libraries Gave Us Power
The story of the British Library's Royal Manuscripts collection reaches its end with the last great flowering of illumination, in the magnificent courts of the Tudors. Dr Janina Ramirez investigates astrological texts created for Henry VII, and unwraps his will - still in its original, extravagantly-decorated velvet and gold cover. She hears music written for Henry VIII, which went unperformed for centuries; and reads love notes between the king and Anne Boleyn, written in the margins of a prayer book. Nina also visits Bruges, the source of many of the greatest manuscripts, where this medieval art form collided with the artistic innovations of the Renaissance.
Illuminations: the private lives of medieval kings
Africa with David Attenborough
Five Came Back
Conquest of the Skies
Galapagos with David Attenborough
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