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.

Rebel Women: The Great Art Fightback

During the tumult of the 1960s, women around the world rose up and battled for liberation. Fueled by the fervor of the period, a feminist led art movement exploded into being.

On both sides of the Atlantic, they tore up art history and focused on experimental new mediums and provocative political statements. This cultural revolution tried to shake up the art hierarchy with shock and awe.

The Impressionists

Stream The Impressionists on BBC Select

A group of painters known as the Impressionists created some of the most recognizable, beloved and expensive works in art history. But, as critic Waldemar Januszczak reveals in this unconventional BBC documentary, these paintings were mired in scandal, rejection and revolution, causing riots when first viewed.

What drove the likes of Monet and Renoir to change the world of art so radically?

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 Art Mysteries

Stream The Art Mysteries on BBC Select

Art is communication. Every painting is a message the artist is trying to tell us. But are we listening?

Art detective Waldemar Januszcak peels away the familiarity of the masterworks of four great painters – Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne, Seurat – to uncover surprising messages, blinding social commentary and a cry for help that will make you see these much loved works in an entirely new light.

The Story of Women and Art

Stream The Story of Women and Art on BBC Select

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.