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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
The Day Pictures Were Born
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.
How Art Made the World
The French Revolution: Tearing Up History
A journey through the dramatic and destructive years of the French Revolution, telling its history in a way not seen before - through the extraordinary story of its art. Our guide through this turbulent decade is the constantly surprising Dr Richard Clay, an art historian who has spent his life decoding the symbols of power and authority.
The Glory of Byzantium
Andrew Graham-Dixon travels to Istanbul to immerse himself in the tumultuous world of the Byzantine Empire. He decodes the iconography of the art of the period and explains its continuing relevance.
Art of Eternity
The Medici: Makers of Modern Art
Andrew Graham-Dixon reveals how the Medici family transformed Florence through sculpture, painting and architecture and created a world where masterpieces fetch millions today. Without the money and patronage of the Medici we might never have heard of artists such as Donatello, Michelangelo or Botticelli, and Graham-Dixon examines how a family of shadowy, corrupt businessmen, driven by greed and ambition, became the financial engine behind the Italian Renaissance.
The Private Life of Plants
Seven Ages of Rock
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