There is a tendency to deny German culture the equal reverence of Italy or Spain, and this enlightening new series provides a wonderful opportunity to explore a great, yet often neglected, artistic tradition whose influence has been just as profound. Andrew Graham-Dixon concludes his exploration of German art by investigating the dark and difficult times of the 20th century. Dominating the landscape is the figure of Adolf Hitler, failed artist, would-be architect and obsessed with the aesthetics of his 1,000-year Reich". In a series of extraordinary building projects and exhibitions, Hitler waged a propaganda war against every form of modern art as a prelude to unleashing total war on the whole of Europe. After the war the shadow of the Third Reich persisted, Germany remained divided and traumatised. How would artists deal with a past that everybody wanted to forget? Journeying through the work of Otto Dix and George Grosz and the age of the Bauhaus to the post-war painters Georg Baselitz, Hilla Becher and the conceptual artist Joseph Beuys is a long and strange journey, but the signs that art has a place at the heart of the new reunited Germany are clearly visible.
Category:Art Duration:59:00 Series: The Art of Germany
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.
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.
Category:Art Duration:59:00 Series: The Art of Russia
How should art depict the relationship between man and God? How can art best express eternal values? Can you and should you portray the face of Christ? For over 1,000 years these were some of the questions which taxed the minds of the greatest artists of the early West. In this three-part series, art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon sets out to unravel the mysteries of art from the pre-perspective era". In the first episode, Andrew traces the beginnings of Christian art in the declining Roman Empire, Egypt and medieval France, and reveals the ideas which lay behind the transition
Category:Art Duration:59:00 Series: Art of Eternity
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