About 'Handmade in Bolton' →
About 'Handmade in Bolton' ←
In episode two of Handmade in Bolton, Dr Janina Ramirez sets ex-forger, Shaun Greenhalgh, the challenge of making an alabaster carving of the kind mass-produced in Catholic England in the centuries before the Reformation. But the mines in Nottingham that produced English alabaster were closed down long ago. And the destruction unleashed by Henry VIII has left behind precious few examples. So Shaun’s views about how the Nottingham alabasters would originally have looked, shock Janina.
In episode three of Handmade in Bolton, ex-forger, Shaun Greenhalgh, is set the task of making a Renaissance animal plate of the type invented by the great French potter, Bernard Palissy. Palissy’s plates are alive with writhing reptiles, but for Shaun, killing grass snakes in Lancashire is not an option. So how can he source some examples for his moulds? And will it mean journeying back to his dark past as a forger?
In episode four of Handmade in Bolton, Oxford historian, Dr Janina Ramirez sets ex-forger, Shaun Greenhalgh, his hardest task yet. Shaun has to carve an Islamic bottle out of rock crystal in the style of the 10th century Egyptian Fatimids. Rock crystal is notoriously fragile. Sourcing the right quantities of it is almost impossible. The real problems begin, however, when the carving is finished.
About 'The Mystery of the Nativity' →
About 'The Mystery of the Nativity' ←
About 'Art of the Night' →
About 'Art of the Night' ←
About 'Baroque: From St. Peter’s to St. Paul’s' →
About 'Baroque: From St. Peter’s to St. Paul’s' ←
Episode One begins at St. Peter's in Rome, and details the birth of the Baroque tradition as it burst forth in Italy.
Episode Two follows Baroque to its dark heart in Spain, especially focussing on the route of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, and featuring star painters Velasquez, Caravaggio, and Zurburan. We then follow on through Belgium and Holland to discover such celebrities as Rubens and Vermeer.
Episode Three brings the Baroque home with an exploration of the English tradition, which finds its climax through Christopher Wren and the iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral.
About 'Beijing Swings' →
About 'Beijing Swings' ←
When Beijing Swings was aired on Channel 4, questions were asked about it in the House of Commons and the Chinese authorities banned its makers from re-entering China.
About 'Big Sky, Big Dreams, Big Art: Made in the USA' →
About 'Big Sky, Big Dreams, Big Art: Made in the USA' ←
Episode 1 is set in the Wild West and begins with the sublime art of the Hudson River School, whose 19th-century evocations of the vastness of America did so much to fuel the myth of the promised land. Another huge influence was the mysterious rock art of the Native Americans, which set a stirring precedent for non-naturalistic painting. The film culminates in a celebration of Jackson Pollock, born in Cody, Wyoming, who arrived in New York wearing a Stetson and cowboy boots, and whose famous drip paintings were influenced heavily by both the moods of the American west and the example of Native American artists.
Episode 2 is set in the American metropolis – the soaring new cities of the East Coast with their futuristic skylines and lofty skyscrapers. But instead of looking up at the futuristic towers, Waldemar Januszczak explores the squalid boxing rings painted by George Bellows, Reginald Mash’s decadent awaydays on Coney Island and the crazy escape into theosophy and abstraction mounted by Thomas Wilfred. The film culminates in the harsh immigrant experience of Ellis Island and the profound impact that rootlessness had on the art of Mark Rothko.
Episode 3 looks at America’s most controversial cultural territory – the interstitial America of small towns and trailer parks. As his road trip takes him from Iowa to Tennessee, Waldemar Januszczak discovers how this much maligned territory had an immensely beneficial impact on American art. From the small town brilliance of Grant Wood, to the small town alienation of Edward Hopper, to the spooky Dust Bowl symbolism of Alexandre Hogue, interstitial America inspired much that was great. The film culminates in the brilliant assemblages of David Smith, the leading sculptor of abstract expressionism.
About 'Every Picture Tells a Story' →
About 'Every Picture Tells a Story' ←
1. The Tempest, by Giorgione
2. The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp, by Rembrandt
3. Mr and Mrs Andrews, by Gainsborough
4. The Birth of Venus, by Botticelli
5. Boy Bitten by Lizard, by Caravaggio
6. Le Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe, by Manet
7. The Mona Lisa. by Da Vinci
8. The Arnolfini Marriage, by Van Eyck
About 'GAUGUIN: The Full Story' →
About 'GAUGUIN: The Full Story' ←
Gauguin is best known for his gorgeous paintings of Tahiti. But has the fame of Gauguin’s Tahiti pictures blinded us to the bigger truth about his achievements?
Waldemar Januszczak believes so, and his epic biography of Gauguin follows the painter through countless twists in a remarkable life that takes him from an idyllic and forgotten childhood in Peru to an horrific and notorious death on the Marquesas Islands. The Gauguin who emerges from this radical re-telling of his story was not only a great painter but also a sculptor, musician, print maker, journalist and ceramicist.
Hailed by The Times as the finest artistic biography ever made, Gauguin: The Full Story features a stunning collection of Gauguin's masterpieces shot in museums and galleries around the world.
About 'Holbein: Eye of the Tudors' →
About 'Holbein: Eye of the Tudors' ←
About 'Kazakhstan Swings' →
About 'Kazakhstan Swings' ←
With its risky video installations, outrageous performance pieces, stunning nudity, desperate violence, and weird shamanism, the modern art of Kazakhstan takes Januszczak’s breath away and will probably do the same to you.
Through this extraordinary filmic journey, we meet a remarkable range of Kazak artists who are blurring the lines between the traditional and the modern, combining the ancient with the contemporary; and pushing the boundaries of "regressive progressive" art.
About 'Mad Tracey From Margate' →
About 'Mad Tracey From Margate' ←
Known for her shockingly honest autobiographical art, Emin has become the self-styled bad girl of contemporary British art. But does her outrageous behaviour and notorious honesty cover up as much as it reveals? With vivid contributions from fellow British artists, family members, former teachers, leading critics and - most dramatically - from Tracey herself, the film tells the story of Emin’s remarkable rise from the hardships of her early life in Margate, to the huge international success she enjoys today.
This is Tracey as you’ve never seen her before.
About 'MANET: The Man Who Invented Modern Art' →
About 'MANET: The Man Who Invented Modern Art' ←
There was Manet’s private life, which was chaotic and dramatic, dominated by an affair with his piano teacher who was simultaneously seeing Manet’s own dad. To this day, no one is sure if it was Manet junior or senior who fathered the Manet son. No wonder he turned against authority. There were other exotic affairs too, and a particularly horrible death, when, riddled with syphilis and gangrene, Manet had to have his leg amputated.
But none of it would matter a jot were it not for the revolutionary art it provoked and coloured. Manet was a born rebel, in his art and in his life. Always cited as the father of the Impressionists, he stubbornly refused to show with them, and was careful to maintain an aesthetic distance from Monet, Renoir and the others. They worshipped him. He looked down on them.
And preferred instead to continue his own remarkable departure from the traditional ways of art. The scandalous paintings with which he made his reputation – the outrageously sexy Olympia; the relentlessly paraphrased Dejeuner sur L’Herbe – are the most totemic images in French 19th century art. And the story of how Manet was rejected from the official salon, and ended up instigating the Salon des Refuses, can be understood as the epoch’s key cultural event. It led to everything.
Using the life of Manet as his narrative arch, Waldemar Januszczak, will tell the story of complex and difficult man who started a revolution that continues to rumble on today. Some bits of Manet’s revolutionary output are justly famous. But most bits of it are not. And by some strange quirk of serendipity, Manet’s full story has never been told in a major television documentary. This is a proposal to right that wrong.
About 'Mary Magdalene: Art’s Scarlet Woman' →
About 'Mary Magdalene: Art’s Scarlet Woman' ←
Her identity has evolved from being the close follower of Jesus who was the first witness to his resurrection, to one of a prostitute and sinner who escaped from persecution in the Holy Land by fleeing across the Mediterranean to wind up living in a cave as a hermit in the South of France, enjoying ecstatic experiences with Christ.
It is this role as a repentant prostitute that has pressed the buzzer of art most violently. The loose woman, wild haired and sexy, draped in her iconic scarlet garb, who, as the archetypal penitent, set the moral benchmark for which women were to aspire.
Her identity has been re-imagined by bishops, artists, authors and musicians. Whilst possessing the relics of Mary Magdalene was big business for Medieval monks in France, she has also proved her worth in the West End and Hollywood, playing the role of the lover of Christ in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and in Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’.
Delving into the great art of the last 1000 years, Waldemar will explore the evolution of the identity of this scarlet woman and reveal what this all really says about the artists whom she bewitched.
About 'Paradise Found' →
About 'Paradise Found' ←
Islam has inspired some of the world’s greatest art. But this huge artistic achievement has long been undervalued. Waldemar Januszczak puts the case for the supremacy of Islamic art. His epic journey of discovery across the Muslim world, from Central Asia to the heart of the Middle East, from Cairo to Samarkand, reveals a treasure-trove of awe-inspiring religious creativity. Works range from the dazzling 10th century Egyptian rock crystal ewer, to the dancing girl frescos of Isfahan, as far afield as the surreal mud mosques of West African Mali.
“Waldemar Januszczak is perhaps the most articulate presenter of programmes on the subject of art on British television today” – The Observer
“Here is a celebration of Islamic art that expresses the timeless and the divine” – The Knowledge
“Two hours of entertaining but seriously good television” – Daily Telegraph
About 'Puppy Love' →
About 'Puppy Love' ←
About 'Rococo: Travel, Pleasure, Madness' →
About 'Rococo: Travel, Pleasure, Madness' ←
Episode 1: Travel
Episode 2: Pleasure
Episode 3: Madness
About 'Rubens: An Extra Large Story' →
About 'Rubens: An Extra Large Story' ←
But Waldemar Januszczak begs to differ. In Waldemar’s eyes, Rubens has been traduced by modern tastes, and a huge misunderstanding of him has taken place. By looking in detail at Rubens’s fascinating life, by understanding his art in more enlightened ways, Waldemar will set out to correct the extra-large misconceptions that have arisen about Rubens.
About 'Sickert vs Sargent' →
About 'Sickert vs Sargent' ←
Written and presented by Waldemar Januszczak, the film focuses on some of the most beautiful and alarming paintings ever made in this country; evokes the long-lost atmosphere of Edwardian London; and above all, shows that these two immigrants were waging a war over nothing less than the future soul of British art. Who won?
Fascinating” – The Observer
“An intelligent and well-argued programme” – The Observer
“Combines heavyweight analysis with an entertaining uppercut” – Sunday Times
About 'Supercities UK' →
About 'Supercities UK' ←
About 'The Cowboy and the Eclipse' →
About 'The Cowboy and the Eclipse' ←
Turrell is famous for thinking big. The material he works with is light. And his Cornish artwork was what Turrell christened a ‘Skyspace’ - a special chamber for viewing the sky.
This film documents two years with Turrell working and living in both Cornwall and at his ranch in Arizona, leading up to eclipse itself.
About 'The Dark Ages: An Age of Light' →
About 'The Dark Ages: An Age of Light' ←
In the first episode the viewer will discover how Christianity emerged into the Roman Empire as an artistic force in the third and fourth centuries. But with no description of Jesus in the Bible, how were Christians to represent their God? Waldemar explores how Christian artists drew on images of ancient gods for inspiration, and developed new forms of architecture to contain their art.
The second episode is dedicated to the ‘Barbarians’. They are often blamed for the collapse of the Roman Empire, but in reality they were fascinating civilizations that produced magnificent art. Focusing on the Huns, Vandals and Goths, Waldemar follows each tribe's journey across Europe, and discovers the incredible art they produced along the way.
Along with Christianity the Dark Ages saw the emergence of another vital religion: Islam. This is the focus of Episode Three. After emerging in the near East the religion spread across North Africa and into Europe, and brought its unique artistic style with it. Waldemar examines the early artistic explorations of the first Muslims, the development of the mosque, and their scientific achievements.
In the final episode Waldemar looks towards the North of Europe. The Carolingians saw themselves as successors to Rome, reflected in their art. Elsewhere, the Vikings were constructing long ships with intricate decoration, and marking their territory with powerful rune stones. And on the British Isles, the Irish and Anglo-Saxons were creating unique works of manuscript illumination and remarkable jewellery.
About 'The Happy Dictator' →
About 'The Happy Dictator' ←
Posing as a tourist who has come to Turkmenistan for a stag weekend, Waldemar Januszczak goes undercover in this bizarre and sinister country to separate the facts from the fiction. And he’s taken his camera with him…
“Utterly fascinating…a brilliant piece of observational journalism…” – Radio Times
“a light-hearted yet fascinating look at life in one of the world’s most secretive countries” – Daily Mail
“…a beautifully observed film…” – The Observer
“very funny…” – Financial Times
“entertainingly observational film” – The Times
About 'The Impressionists: Painting & Revolution' →
About 'The Impressionists: Painting & Revolution' ←
Although today Impressionism is considered appropriate for chocolate boxes, Januszczak argues that it was actually a remarkably exciting and radical movement in Art.
Travelling from the shores of the West Indies, to the city of Paris and the suburbs of London, Januszczak explores the key locations that inspired the Impressionists, and discovers the ground-breaking scientific advancements that allowed the movement to flourish.
4 x 1 hour
About 'The Lost Genius of British Art: William Dobson' →
About 'The Lost Genius of British Art: William Dobson' ←
Born in London in 1611, Dobson became Charles I’s principal painter on the death of Van Dyck in 1641. A year later, at the outbreak of the English Civil War, Dobson accompanied the King to Oxford, where he painted spectacular portraits of the Royal Family and the leading Royalist supporters. Following the King’s defeat by Cromwell and the Parliamentarians in 1646, Dobson returned to London where he died in poverty, aged just 35.
It was a tragically short career, but a hugely significant one. In this film, the art critic Waldemar Januszczak uncovers the fascinating life and times of the artist, and argues that Dobson is a lost genius of British art. Travelling to great houses, museums, castles and palaces across Britain, Januszczak examines many of Dobson’s masterpieces and the impressive settings in which they can be found, and shows why this great artist does not deserve to be forgotten.
About 'The Lost Supper' →
About 'The Lost Supper' ←
Da Vinci’s famously fragile fresco was always going to be a challenge for its secretive Italian restorers. No one, however, could have foreseen how problematic and strange their task would become. Marked by a series of extraordinary mishaps, mistakes, and miscalculations, the incredible restoration is hilarious to watch but may have resulted in the loss of a masterpiece.
About 'The Michelangelo Code: Lost Secrets of the Sistine Chapel' →
About 'The Michelangelo Code: Lost Secrets of the Sistine Chapel' ←
It’s the largest painting in the world, the most ambitious and the most famous. But the hidden meaning of Michelangelo’s masterpiece has eluded 500 years of investigation and speculation. Now, on the 500th anniversary of the commencement of work on the ceiling, Waldemar Januszczak has finally discovered what the great painting is really trying to tell us. The results will amaze you.
Granted unparalleled access to the Sistine Chapel by the Vatican, Januszczak works out the secret code that Michelangelo had hidden in the ceiling, overturns the myths surrounding the masterpiece, and presents an exciting new theory that involves the Branch Davidians of Waco, two della Rovere Popes, a Vatican spin doctor and an intensely religious artist by the name of Michelangelo Buonarroti.
“Fascinating from start to finish” – Daily Telegraph
“This is an incredible programme…you’ll never look at Michelangelo’s work in the same way again” – Radio Times
“This astonishing film tells us the true meaning of his masterpiece” – TV Times
About 'The Renaissance Unchained' →
About 'The Renaissance Unchained' ←
About 'The Sculpture Diaries' →
About 'The Sculpture Diaries' ←
The series covers three topics – Women, Leaders and Land Art - with each programme traversing the globe - from Easter Island to Africa, from Peru to Tahiti – looking for the most impressive and weirdest sculptures in existence. Featuring the work of James Turrell, Orlan, Antony Gormley, Marc Quinn, Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt, this pioneering series traces the origins of sculpture's most important themes back to distant prehistory.
This 2 DVD set includes 3 episodes of The Sculpture Diaries plus bonus material featuring Ron Mueck, Andy Goldsworthy and Carl Andre's 'Equivalent VIII'
About 'The Truth About Art' →
About 'The Truth About Art' ←
Programme 1 - ANIMALS
Explores how animals have played a vital role in defining man’s relationship to the natural world and facing fears about our own mortality
Programme 2 - GODS
Reveals how religion has inspired some of the world’s greatest art as various artists at various times have tried to put a face to God.
Programme 3 - LOVERS
Traces the development of the nude in art from The Willendorf Venus, past the Renaissance , to the twentieth century.
About 'TOULOUSE LAUTREC: The Full Story' →
About 'TOULOUSE LAUTREC: The Full Story' ←
Art is full of angry outsiders. Yet almost all of them are eventually welcomed and forgiven. But not Lautrec. Energetic and bubbly before a childhood accident that would cripple him for life, Lautrec turned into the violent, obsessive, sexually rampant alcoholic, about whom so much that is so misleading has been written. During the course of his short but turbulent life, Lautrec succeeded in producing a body of art that was truly revolutionary in tone and impact. His work landed some of the most effective blows on the wall that separates high art from low. Yet all this is frequently forgotten as his infamy grows and grows.
Pioneer of the poster, apostle of the brothel, lover of the low. Lautrec is as under-estimated today as he ever was.
“Like all his films, it is shot through with intelligence, energy and a sense of fun” – The Sunday Times
“It is fascinating to watch and learn as Januszczak painstakingly sets the record straight. A must for anyone interested in 19th-century art, or indeed art full stop” – The Observer
“…entertaining, informative and occasionally eye-opening” – Daily Telegraph
“An affectionate, myth-busting homage…A whole series could have been eked out about this fascinating, subversive artist” – Time Out
About 'Travels in Virtual Japan' →
About 'Travels in Virtual Japan' ←
About 'Ugly Beauty' →
About 'Ugly Beauty' ←
Has beauty disappeared from modern art? Several influential modern thinkers insist that it has. And this belief has inspired them to publish a clutch of recent books which claim that modern art is no longer capable of capturing true beauty: that beauty has gone from art.
But the art critic, Waldemar Januszczak, disagrees fiercely with these suggestions. He believes that great art is as interested in beauty as it always was. Perhaps the definition of beauty has changed. Perhaps we are looking for it in the wrong places. But beauty is there. And he is going to find it.
Don’t expect it to be the same old beauty, though. Art is no longer in the obvious business of celebrating the glorious nude or the lovely flower study. Beauty today can be electronic or scientific; subtle and elusive. It can be found in the LCD sculptures of Tatsuo Miyajima or the subtle light installations of James Turrell. Carl Andre discovers a stern modern beauty in squares of industrial materials dropped around a goods yard. The cancer paintings of Damien Hirst find a terrible modern beauty in the deformed human anatomy. These and other great searchers after beauty would be the subject of this film.
The world today needs beauty more than it has ever needed it. Modern art is one of the few suppliers.
About 'VINCENT: The Full Story' →
About 'VINCENT: The Full Story' ←
Most people know three things about Vincent Van Gogh: that he painted sunflowers, that he cut off his ear, and that he killed himself. But what was Vincent really like?
Following closely in Van Gogh’s footsteps, from his grim early life in Holland to his tumultuous suicide in Auvers, Waldemar Januszczak draws on the latest research from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to provide a fresh, unsentimental portrait of the artist we think we know. The film reveals new depths to Van Gogh’s character and personality, and throws new light on the most infamous events in his life from the disastrous two years he spent in England, to the traumatic ear-cutting in Arles.
If you think you know Vincent well – think again.
“Magnificent” – The Independent
“Fascinating viewing… the reciprocal influence of artist upon place is visible and infectious” – The Observer