The idea is to provide a visual journey through French Art history; from via Versailles, to French Revolution and national collapse in 1870 and 1871, and finally, in episode three, to the rise of impressionism and existentialism.
Here's the trailer in case you missed it.
There are going to be three episodes lasting one hour each. The first episode will be broadcast on Monday 30th January.
- EPISODE 1 (30th January): Plus Ca Change - French gothic and Enlightenment via Versailles
Art historian and critic Andrew Graham-Dixon opens his latest series with the dramatic story of French art, a story of the most powerful kings ever to rule in Europe with their glittering palaces and astounding art to go in them. He also reveals how art emerged from a struggle between tradition and revolution, between rulers and a people who didn't always want to be ruled.Martin Hoyle at the Financial Times looks as if he's been given a preview - read his preview/review of The Art of France BBC4
Starting with the first great revolution in art, the invention of Gothic architecture, he traces its development up until the arrival of Classicism and the Age of Enlightenment - and the very eve of the Revolution. Along the way some of the greatest art the world has ever seen was born including the paintings of Poussin, Watteau and Chardin, the decadent Rococo delights of Boucher and the great history paintings of Charles le Brun.
|Sainte Chapelle - Upper Chapel, Paris, France|
- which will be seen in the first episode
- EPISODE 2 (6th February): There will be blood - Versailles, to French Revolution and national collapse in 1870 and 1871
Andrew Graham-Dixon explores how art in France took a dramatic turn following the French Revolution that ushered in a bold new world. From the execution of King Louis XVI and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte - a figure who simultaneously repelled and inspired artists of his time - through to the rise of Romanticism and an art of seduction, sex and high drama, Andrew explores artists including Jacques-Louis David - whose art appeared on the barricades and in the streets - as well as the work of Delacroix, Ingres and the tragic but brilliant Theodore Gericault.
- EPISODE 3 (13th February): Rise of impressionism and existentialism
They haven't said anything about this one as yet.