Play Flights of Fancy

In December 1942, a Jewish teacher brings art supplies to children held by Nazis. They created art that would give them a momentary escape, if only in their imaginations.

Play Art from Fiery Immolation

Some of the strongest contemporary art has the magical power of transformation, turning the ephemeral and destructive into something more enduring.

Play The Multitudes of the Displaced

For artist Ai Weiwei, the calamity of our time is the disaster of the multitudes of displaced. Those who are uprooted, through no fault of their own, and cast adrift on an infinite ocean of terror and despair.

Play What Is Art Good For?

Explore art in the age of revolution, war and profound scientific change and consider the question: Should art create a separate realm, a place of escape, or should it plunge into the chaos, transforming the way we see and live in the world?

Play Otto Dix's Definitive Artistic Statement

Otto Dix and his generation had borne witness to the horrors of World War I. They'd also been witness to the death of the nineteenth century faith in an inevitable, unstoppable progress.

Play George Catlin's Indian Portraits

Catlin was by no means indifferent to the suffering of the people whose faces appear in these paintings. But he didn't produce them in order to take part in some campaign to save the native Americans, instead he said they must perish.

Play The Cult of Progress

Examine the rise and fall of “progress” as an ideology, and see how the “civilizing” project that arose from Enlightenment ideas was fraught with contradictions that troubled European artists in different ways.

Play Japan's 18th Century Commercial Art Revitalizes Color

Ukiyo-e began with only a few colors, but combined them in increasingly sophisticated ways to create vivid depictions of a rapidly growing urban life. Wildly popular in all its forms, it demonstrated that every day transitory objects could be considered art.

Play Goya's Harmony and Chaos

In his 60s, Goya abandoned his role as court artist to bare witness to the irrational forces unleashed by Napoleon's invasion of Spain.

Play Color and Light

Explore the story of light and color in art - both in the search for greater realism and spiritual ecstasy. Journey from Gothic cathedrals and Indian courtly painting to modern art.

Play Landscape as Ideology

In Li Cheng's hands, landscape art became not a depiction of the natural world, but a kind of official ideology, promoting order.

Play Paradise on Earth

Explore one of humanity’s deepest artistic urges: the depiction of nature. But landscape painting is seldom a straightforward portrayal of observed nature; it's a projection of dreams, idylls, escapes and refuges—the elusive paradise on earth.

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