We start with an immersive journey into the life and art of Venice's famous view-painter Canaletto. The film also offers the chance to step inside two official royal residences - Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle - to learn more about the artist and Joseph Smith, the man who introduced Canaletto to Britain. The programme visits some of the sites immortalised in Canaletto's views, from the Rialto Bridge to the Piazza San Marco, and the Palazzo Ducale to the Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo. Featuring contributions from Royal Collection curators and the world's leading experts in Venetian history.
The spectacular sculptures and paintings of Michelangelo seem so familiar to us, but what do we really know about this Renaissance genius, and who was this ambitious and passionate man? A virtuoso craftsman, Michelangelo's artistry is evident in everything that he touched. Spanning his 89 years, this episode takes a cinematic journey from the print and drawing rooms of Europe through the great chapels and museums of Florence, Rome and the Vatican to explore the tempestuous life of Michelangelo.
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.