Monet, Cezanne, Degas and Renoir are some of the world's most popular artists. Their works, and that of their contemporaries, fetch tens of millions of dollars around the globe. Who were they and how exactly did they paint? To help answer these questions, this film focuses on the man credited with inventing impressionism as we know it - 19th-century Parisian art collector Paul Durand-Ruel. It was his brave decision to back these radical artists and then, on the verge of bankruptcy, to exhibit them in New York in 1886 that created impressionism as we know it. Thanks to his sales to enlightened wealthy Americans that subsequently filled US galleries with impressionist masterworks, Durand-Ruel kept impressionism alive at a time when it faced complete failure. This film tells his remarkable story, along with that of the impressionists themselves.
Professor Sir Roger Penrose is more than just a fan of MC Escher's mind-bending art. During the course of a long creative collaboration, the British mathematician and the Dutch artist exchanged ideas and inspirations. Some of Escher's most iconic images have their origin in Penrose's mathematical sketches - while the artist's work has served as a starting point for the professor's own explorations of new scientific ideas. To coincide with the first ever Escher retrospective in the UK, Penrose takes us on a personal journey through Escher's greatest masterpieces - marvelling at his intuitive brilliance and the penetrating light it still sheds on complex mathematical concepts.
2015 • Design
Piers Taylor and Caroline Quentin explore unusual homes built underground. In Greece, they view a house hidden beneath the landscape that still boasts stunning sea views. In the Swiss Alps, they visit a house made so invisible it has to be accessed via a tunnel. Next it's over to New Zealand's South Island to a house built underground to soften its impact on the landscape as well as withstand the threat of earthquakes, before the pair inspects a Dutch house created by deep excavation, which features a huge, light-filled open-plan living space.
Nicholas Kennedy works with the ghosts of printing’s past, by using salvaged equipment. His style of “anti-design” or “found design” insists that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you create. He suddenly makes the dying art of bookmaking seem very much alive.
The Mona Lisa: bewitching, seductive, world famous. In the minds of millions, she is the ultimate work of art. Yet behind the enigmatic smile, she remains a mystery, fuelling endless speculation and theories. But is that all about to change? Is the world's most famous painting finally giving up its secrets? Presented by Andrew Graham-Dixon, this landmark film uses new evidence to investigate the truth behind her identity and where she lived. It decodes centuries-old documents and uses state-of-the-art technology that could unlock the long-hidden truths of history's most iconic work of art.
2015 • Design