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 Scandinavia

Stream the Art of Scandinavia on BBC Select

It’s a land without light for months on end, with a reputation for gloom and bleak landscapes that inspired 20th-century existentialism. But, in this BBC Scandinavian art documentary expert Andrew Graham-Dixon discovers that while it’s a fitting home for Munch’s The Scream, Scandinavia is also a land of eroticism, fairytales, futuristic thinking and idealism that’s given us bicycle-riding monarchs, Lego and modernist social design.

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.

Art of France

Watch The Art of France on BBC Select

It’s a nation famous for passion, rebellion and beauty. So it’s no surprise that art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon’s three-part documentary about the history of French art is as visually stunning as it is dramatic. This BBC French art history documentary tells a story of blood (King Louis XIV’s), guts (the idealists who overthrew the old rules to define a new revolution in art) and resistance – from the Romantics through to the Impressionists and beyond.

War Art with Eddie Redmayne

Stream War Art with Eddie Redmayne on BBC Select

How were artists able to help soldiers on the battlefield during the First World War? Fantastic Beasts actor Eddie Redmayne discovers how talented sculptors used their designs to save lives.

In this compelling arts documentary, Redmayne takes an intensely emotional journey, to answer the question where does artistic expression end and propaganda begin?

Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne explores why conflict has often inspired great artists. He visits artists’ studios, museums and travels to battlefields to discover how artists have shone a powerful light into the abyss of warfare.

The World's Greatest Paintings

Stream The World's Greatest Painitings with Andrew Marr

The stories behind some of the most famous works of art ever devised. Why were these pieces created and what makes them so eternally fascinating? How much did the lives of the artists, and the society and environment they worked in, influence the paintings? Get ready to see truly iconic images in a whole new light with this fascinating art history documentary with Andrew Marr.