Art on the BBC 10 January 2022: Monday on BBC Four

Van Gogh – Life and Art – Series 2 Episode 2 of 4 – Art historian Kate Bryan examines six decades of BBC archive to create a television history of the man who has become the embodiment of the ‘tortured artist’, Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh was 37 when he shot himself, but in the four years before he died, he painted some of the world’s most beloved works, using colour in ways that changed art forever.

In this programme, Kate discovers that film-makers have found it impossible to separate Van Gogh’s work from his life – from his fraught relationship with fellow artist Paul Gauguin, to the heartbreaking struggle with his mental health that ended in tragedy. In their efforts to understand Van Gogh’s complex psyche, and where his talent and extraordinary feeling for colour came from, programme makers have explored the French countryside, where his most famous works were painted, set off on detective trails to solve the mystery of his severed ear, and delved into his personal letters, casting some of the world’s most remarkable actors – from Benedict Cumberbatch to Kirk Douglas – to bring his words and work to life.

Drawing on archive broadcasts from Doctor Who to Simon Schama’s Power of Art, with contributions from experts and enthusiasts alike, from Jeremy Paxman to Andrew Graham-Dixon, Kate reveals how our interpretation of Van Gogh’s work and his illness have undergone seismic changes through the decades.



About Art on the BBC

Four young British art historians delve into six decades of the BBC archives to discover the powerful way in which television influences our understanding of the world’s greatest artists.

This show is broadcast on BBC Four, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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About BBC Four

BBC Fouris an British television network, and is one of the main television networks in the United Kingdom. It broadcasts in English.

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Alex Matthews

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