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Christ of St John of the Cross by Salvador Dali

       Art
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.
Series: The Private Life of a Masterpiece

Art of Spain: The Moorish South

   2008    Art
Travelling from the unique Muslim contribution in the medieval south, Andrew Graham-Dixon immerses himself in true Spanish culture and meets the people who live and work with this artistic legacy. He looks at Muslim political and cultural influence as he travels from Cordoba to Granada, seeing classic buildings such as the Great Mosque in Cordoba, the Alcazar in Seville and the Alhambra in Granada. He also shows how the Moors introduced new foods – including citrus fruits, coffee and spices
Series: Art of Spain

Cartoon Maps

   2010    Culture
The series concludes by delving into the world of satirical maps. How did maps take on a new form, not as geographical tools, but as devices for humour, satire or storytelling? Graphic Artist Fred Rose perfectly captured the public mood in 1880 with his General Election maps featuring Gladstone and Disraeli, using the maps to comment upon crucial election issues still familiar to us today. Technology was on the satirist's side with the advent of high-speed printing allowing for larger runs at lower cost. In 1877, when Rose produced his 'Serio Comic Map of Europe at War', maps began to take on a new direction and form, reflecting a changing world. Rose's map exploited these possibilities to the full using a combination of creatures and human figures to represent each European nation. The personification of Russia as a grotesque-looking octopus, extending its tentacles around the surrounding nations, perfectly symbolised the threat the country posed to its neighbours.
Series: The Beauty of Maps

Adoration in the Forest

   2010    Art
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.
Series: The Private Life of a Masterpiece

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 Cell
The Cell

      Science
Reel Rock
Reel Rock

   2014    Culture
Planet Dinosaur
Planet Dinosaur

   2011    Science
Top Gear
Top Gear

   2012    Technology
The Hunt
The Hunt

   2015    Nature
Becoming Human
Becoming Human

   2010    History
The Incredible Human Journey
The Incredible Human Journey

   2009    History
Clarkson Farm
Clarkson Farm

   2021    Nature