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The Third of May 1808

   2004    Art
Arguably the most powerful painting about war ever achieved. It portrays the slaughter of civilians after Napoleonic troops entered Madrid in 1808. The programme reveals the historical truths behind the painting and shows exactly how Goya achieved this masterpiece of protest. he painting's content, presentation, and emotional force secure its status as a groundbreaking, archetypal image of the horrors of war. Although it draws on many sources from both high and popular art, The Third of May 1808 marks a clear break from convention. Diverging from the traditions of Christian art and traditional depictions of war, it has no distinct precedent, and is acknowledged as one of the first paintings of the modern era.
According to the art historian Kenneth Clark, The Third of May 1808 is 'the first great picture which can be called revolutionary in every sense of the word, in style, in subject, and in intention'. Discover how Goya used drawings by authentic witnesses to depict a real firing squad.
Series: The Private Life of a Masterpiece

Ruling by the Book

   2012    Art
Dr Janina Ramirez unlocks the secrets of illuminated manuscripts that were custom-made for kings and explores the medieval world they reveal. 'Ruling by the Book.' Janina begins her journey with the first Anglo-Saxon rulers to create a united England, encountering books in the British Library's Royal manuscripts collection which are over a thousand years old and a royal family tree which is five metres long.
Janina finds out about a king who had a reputation for chasing nuns and reads a book created as a wedding gift for a ten-year-old prince. She roams from Westminster Abbey to other ancient English spiritual sites such as Winchester, St Albans and Malmesbury, and sees for herself how animal skins can be transformed into the finest vellum.
Series: Illuminations: the private lives of medieval kings

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

   2010    History    3D
A documentary by Werner Herzog, who gained exclusive access to film inside the Chauvet caves of Southern France and captures the oldest known pictorial creations of humanity. Some of them were crafted as much as 32,000 years ago. The film consists of images from inside the cave as well as of interviews with various scientists and historians. Also includes footage of the nearby Pont d'Arc natural bridge.

Van Gogh Painted with Words

   2010    History
Drama-documentary presented by Alan Yentob, with Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role as Van Gogh. Every word spoken by the actors in this film is sourced from the letters that Van Gogh sent to his younger brother Theo, and of those around him. What emerges is a complex portrait of a sophisticated, civilised and yet tormented man. The film won a Rockie for Best Arts Documentary at the Banff World Media Festival in 2011, receiving critical acclaim for its fascinating insight into the life of the artist and its unique approach to storytelling.

Saving Banksy

   2017    Art
The story of one misguided art collector's attempts to save a Banksy painting from destruction and the auction block. Featuring some of the world's top street artists, this film poses the question 'What would you do if you owned a million dollar painting that the artist doesn't want sold?'
Top Gear
Top Gear

   2012    Technology
The Human Body
The Human Body

   1998    Medicine
The Gene Code
The Gene Code

   2011    Science
Human Planet
Human Planet

   2011    Culture
Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial
Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial

      History
How the Universe Works
How the Universe Works

   2014    Science
In Search of Beethoven
In Search of Beethoven

   2009    Art