Art documentaries

Learn about the most creative and imaginative minds and their influence on our world with these art documentaries on BBC Select. Join a host of renowned historians and art experts such as Andrew Graham-Dixon, Simon Schama, Grayson Perry and others, as they uncover the stories and motives behind the most famous artists in history from Hokusai to van Gough. Sign up to BBC Select in the US and Canada today to stream this expansive collection of BBC art documentaries.

Art of China

Watch Art of China on BBC Select

As China’s economic and political influence grows, Chinese art receives greater exposure around the world. But many of its treasures have never been seen in the West. This three-part BBC art history documentary sees historian Andrew Graham-Dixon takes us on an exhilarating odyssey through 3,000 years of art from China. The Terracotta Army to its modern cultural rebirth, it’s a rare insight into the art of China, the history of China as well as modern China.

Vincent: The Full Story

Stream Vincent Van Gogh - The Full Story on BBC Select

Arguably the world’s most famous artist, what do we really know about Vincent van Gogh? We’ve all heard about the sunflowers, the ear-cutting, the madness, the suicide.

But what is the truth behind the legend? In this BBC art documentary, critic Waldemar Januszczak explores the life of van Gogh, investigating his creativity and providing a fresh, unsentimental portrait of the painter.

The Story of Women and Art

Three-part BBC documentary series with Professor Amanda Vickery exploring a hidden world of female artistry. In 1989, 5% of work in the Modern Museum of Art was by women but 85% of the nudes were female. Decades later, female artists are still kept out, but they will – and never have been – kept down. There are names we know, like Georgia O’Keeffe, and so many that we don’t. This is a story of restlessness, resourcefulness and resistance – of power denied and seized and a world transformed by their art.

Simon Schama's Power of Art

Stream Simon Schama's Power of Art on BBC Select

Art is so much more than pretty pictures. It has the power to move, shock, inform and transform.

In this groundbreaking and award-winning series, art historian Simon Schama attempts to illustrate the sheer force of the visual image via eight iconic masterpieces. These works were often derided or dismissed when first created, but they went on to change the way we look at the world.

Grayson Perry: Who Are You?

We live in a world where we’re bombarded by images of ourselves. Where selfies fill our camera rolls. But is that posed, curated image really you?

Artist Grayson Perry feels that a portrait should tell a story that’s as messy and complicated as we are. He’s on a mission to create a modern, personal and truthful portrait of individuals, families and tribes who are struggling to define themselves.

This show is not currently available on BBC Select but browse through the previous titles for more Art documentaries available to stream on BBC Select.