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.
Architect Piers Taylor and actress Caroline Quentin explore unusual homes built in or near areas of forest. After trips to properties near Madrid and the Catskill Mountains in New York State, they arrive in Piha, New Zealand, to a house built within an indigenous forest of pohutukawa trees. Navigating very strict environmental laws, this wooden-cladded and glass-roofed property mimics the branches of the surrounding trees, while its huge sliding glass walls open up to allow the surrounding forest to become an intrinsic part of the house itself.
Trevor McIvor and his partners design buildings that take advantage of the innate heating and cooling characteristics of nature. From an off the grid “cottage” that requires no artificial cooling, to a green-roofed sound studio rising out of the earth, nature dictates the design flow.
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer is one of the most enduring paintings in the history of art, but despite its popularity, the painting itself is surrounded by mystery. Who was this girl, why and how was it painted, and why is it so revered? This film takes us on a journey through the masterpieces of the extensively-renovated Mauritshuis in The Hague in the Netherlands to try to answer many of the questions surrounding this enigmatic painting and its mysterious creator.
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.