A Very British Renaissance
Confirmed for BBC Two on 21 March at 9.00pm to 10.00pm
Friday 21 March
Now, in a new series for BBC Two, Dr James Fox looks back at a forgotten British Renaissance, celebrating an age that saw Britain shed its medieval shackles and embrace a world of cutting-edge art, literature, architecture and science.
Across three episodes, James reveals the painters, sculptors, poets, thinkers and figures who, he argues, brought a bold and beautiful artistic movement to our shores between the 1500s to the start of the English civil war.
In the opening episode, James explores how the Renaissance arrived, with a handful of influential European artists bringing ideas from the continent in the early 16th century - from the inspiration of Torrigiano, who fled Florence after a fist fight with Michelangelo, to Holbein and his influence on painter John Bettes - thought to be the first English Renaissance-trained artist. Although impossible without this foreign stimulus, this renaissance quickly became quintessentially British - and it was gaining momentum.
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