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The Ming

   2016    History
The tale of one of China's most famous dynasties begins with the amazing story of Hongwu, a peasant rebel who founded one of greatest eras in Chinese history. The film takes us to his great capital Nanjing, with its 21 miles of walls, each brick stamped with the name of the village that made it. Following the trail, we go to the Bao family village and see the villagers act a Ming murder story. Like many authoritarian states, the Ming were obsessive about architecture. We see the giant fortifications of the Great Wall, the ritual enclaves of the Forbidden City in Beijing and travel with bargeman Mr Hu down the Grand Canal, China's great artery of commerce right up to the present day. We then hear about Admiral Zheng He's voyages to Africa and the Gulf decades before Columbus, watch the construction of an ocean-going wooden boat 250ft long, and hitch a ride on a replica Ming junk in the South China Sea. As state prosperity grew, so did a rising middle class. Wood looks at Ming culture in Suzhou, the 'Venice of China'. Staying in a merchant's house, he discovers the silk, ceramic and lacquer-making industries, and visits one of the most beautiful gardens in the city. Then on to Macao and the arrival of Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci, who hoped to convert China to Christianity. In the cathedral in Beijing, we learn more about these fateful exchanges with the west. Finally in Shaoxing, we visit the house of the 'Ming Proust' and at grassroots the Zhao family in Fujian where the film ends in an elegiac mood with the fall of the Ming in 1644.
Series: The Story of China

Roads to Revolution

   2009    Art
Andrew Graham-Dixon explores how Russia changed from a feudal nation of aristocratic excess to a hotbed of revolution at the beginning of the 20th century and how art moved from being a servant of the state to an agent of its destruction. From monuments that celebrate the absolutism of the tsars to the epic Russian landscape as inspiration; from the design and construction of gold and glittering palaces to the minutiae of diamond-encrusted Faberge eggs; and eventually to the stark and radical paintings of the avant-garde, the journey through Russian art history is one of extraordinary beauty and surprise.
Series: The Art of Russia

Travels with Vasari 1

   2009    Art
On a spectacular journey through Renaissance Italy, Andrew Graham-Dixon searches for the shadowy figure who wrote one of the most important books on art and looks at some dazzling works, including masterpieces of the early Renaissance by Giotto, Masaccio and Donatello. Giorgio Vasari was the grandaddy of all art critics, travelling Italy in the 16th century for his definitive Lives of the Artists. It was a time of miracles that he named 'the Renaissance'.
Series: Travels with Vasari

The Mystical North

   2008    Art
Graham-Dixon reveals how the north of the country has produced some of the most dazzling and iconic art of the modern age. Spain's turbulent history has shaped artists from Francisco Goya to Pablo Picasso. Graham-Dixon argues that Spanish architecture is the art form now taking the nation forward in the new millennium.
Series: Art of Spain

The Glory of Byzantium

   2007    Art
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.
Series: Art of Eternity
Apocalypse: World War 1
Apocalypse: World War 1

   2014    History
Triumph of Life
Triumph of Life

   2006    Nature
The Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht

   2007    History
Seven Ages of Rock
Seven Ages of Rock

   2007    Art
Prehistoric America
Prehistoric America

   2003    Nature
Planet Earth
Planet Earth

   2007    Nature
Cosmos
Cosmos

   1980    Science
Blood of the Vikings
Blood of the Vikings

   2001    History