The Art of Russia
Series in which art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon tells the incredible story of Russian art – its mystery and magnificence – and until now a story untold on British television.
He explores the origins of the Russian icon from its roots in Byzantium and the first great Russian icon, Our Lady of Vladimir to the masterpieces of the country’s most famous icon painter, Andrei Rublev.
Both epic and awe-inspiring, and producing brilliant art, nevertheless medieval Russia could be a terrifying place.
Out of the Forest. Criss-crossing the epic landscape, Andrew visits the monastery founded by Ivan the Terrible, where his favorite forms of torture found inspiration in religious art. One man would shine a light into Russia’s dark ages – Peter the Great who, surprisingly, took as his inspiration Deptford in South London.
Roads to Revolution. He explores how Russia changed from a feudal nation of aristocratic excess to a hotbed of revolution at the beginning of the 20th century and how art moved from being a servant of the state to an agent of its destruction.
Smashing the Mould. The final part examines political revolution and how art was at the forefront of throwing out 1,000 years of royal rule, from its earliest revolutionary days of enthusiasm and optimism when painting died, the poster was king and the machine-made triumphed over the handmade to the dead hand of Socialist Realism.
Watch the full documentary now (playlist – 3 hours)