It is one of the greatest and bloodiest mysteries in art: what happened on the December night in 1888 when Vincent van Gogh took a blade to his own ear? Jeremy Paxman joins art sleuth Bernadette Murphy on her amazing quest to discover the truth - what exactly did the artist do, why did he do it and who was the unknown girl he is said to have handed his severed ear to, her real identity kept secret by her family for over a century? It is an event that defines van Gogh, who created his greatest masterpieces including the sunflowers at the same moment as suffering mental torture, but what are the real facts? This revealing detective story travels from Vincent's home in the south of France to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and uncovers key evidence hidden in a Californian library that has created an art-world sensation, as we finally solve the mystery of Van Gogh's ear.
In 1991, a small Medieval prayer book was sold at auction. Miraculously, some original writings of Archimedes, the brilliant Greek mathematician, were discovered hidden beneath the religious text. Through scholarly detective work with the help of modern technology, this book now reveals Archimedes' stunningly original concepts, ideas, and theories--revelations that, if known sooner, might have reshaped our world.
Picasso's Last Stand reveals the untold story of the last decade of the great artist's life, through the testimony of family and close friends - many of them the people he allowed into his private world in the 1960s. As his health declined in these final years, Picasso faced damaging criticism of his work and intimate revelations about his bohemian lifestyle for the first time. And yet, in the midst of disaster, he rediscovered his revolutionary spirit with a creative surge that produced some of his most sexually frank and comic work. Exhibitions of the new style horrified and disappointed contemporaries. But now his biographer Sir John Richardson and granddaughter Diana Widmaier Picasso argue that this last enormous effort produced some of his greatest and most profound art: the stunning counter-attack of a protean genius coming to terms with old age.
2018 • People
In May 1893, a man is thrown out of a train, on the platforms of the train station of Pietermaritzburg, a little city of South Africa, for daring to sit in a first-class compartment. This young Indian lawyer is named Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
Jenny Clack recounts how she overcame setbacks before she found and described a fossil which offered new evidence of how fish made the transition onto land. For paleontologist Professor Jenny Clack, who solved one of the greatest mysteries in the history of life on Earth, success was far from inevitable. A chance discovery in 1986 in the earth sciences department of Cambridge University, of long-forgotten fossils collected from the Devonian rocks of East Greenland in 1970, was to shape the rest of her career. She recounts how she had to overcome a series of setbacks before she found and described the fossil Acanthostega, a 365 million-year-old creature that offered dramatic new evidence of how fish made the transition onto land. She authored or co-authored more than 120 research papers as well as numerous popular articles and book reviews. A measure of the significance of her work is that 15 of her research papers were published in the journal Nature. Her one book, "Gaining Ground, The Origin and Evolution of Tetrapods" (2002), summarises the results of research on early tetrapods over the previous 25 years.