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.

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.

Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds

Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds - A Tale of Three Cities on BBC Select

Huge cultural explosions are often placed at the feet of particular individuals. But the DNA of the cities that fuel this stunning art also have an influence.

Art expert James Fox digs into the underbelly of three iconic cities – Vienna, Paris and New York – at pivotal moments in their cultural history, and explores how the atmosphere and streets themselves drove artists to create seminal work.

The Romantic Revolution

Stream The Romantic Revolution on BBC Select

Uncover rebellion, bloodshed and nostalgia in art’s Romantic period.

The years between 1800 and 1850 marked the approximate span of the Romantic period, an era dominated by revolution, industrial toil and bloodshed. Yet a multitude of extraordinary creative works were produced in this time of turmoil, with artistic and literary giants such as William Blake, Victor Hugo and Mary Wollstonecraft thrust to the fore.

Historian and art expert Simon Schama explores the impact of the art and literature produced in this tumultuous time and asks: how are the ideas behind these creations relevant to the world we live in today?

Grayson Perry's Art Club

Stream Grayson Perry - Art Club on BBC Select

Get ready to unleash your creativity as the acclaimed artist Grayson Perry returns to BBC Select.

In each episode, the award-winning potter and painter hosts the show from his studio, where he creates new pieces, leads masterclasses in a variety of artistic side and finds out how other artists, creatives and celebrities nurture their creative side. What masterpieces might you conjure up?

Shock of The Nude

Stream Shock of the Nude on BBC Select

We wipe our internet browsing histories to spare our blushes, yet admire a nude in an art gallery without the blink of an eye. But, asks classicist Mary Beard, is it really the ennobling effects of great art that sees us queuing up for famous nudes from Aphrodite to Michaelangelo’s David?

Gleefully, Beard strips away our lofty claims to reveal the truth behind our obsession with the body in art.