Art on the BBC 3 January 2022: Monday on BBC Four

The Great Salvador Dali – Series 2 Episode 1 of 4 – Art historian David Dibosa examines six decades of BBC archive material to create a television history of Salvador Dali. Often called art’s greatest showman and the world’s first celebrity artist, Dali shamelessly used TV to promote his art and himself. Dali’s striking, dreamlike images made his name synonymous with surrealism, and he shocked the world through film, fashion, sculpture and architecture.

In this account, David hunts through dozens of BBC programmes to try to understand the real Salvador Dali, not just the more familiar eccentric show-off. Taking in films presented down the decades by Robert Hughes, Sister Wendy and Philippa Perry, David’s rich dive into the archives, including Dali’s own films, reveals how our understanding of the artist has changed dramatically over the years.

Whatever the era, Dali has always been important to programme makers – so much so that on BBC Four’s launch night in 2002, one of the broadcasts was a star-studded and surreal comic exploration of Dali’s early career, featuring Stephen Fry, Matt Lucas and Ewen Bremner. David also delves into Dali’s fractured relationship with the surrealists and his own family, and his life-long passion for his wife Gala, who was the engine behind his later career and helped him take America by storm.

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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