A New Jerusalem

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Episode 3 of 3

Duration: 59 minutes

Three-part series in which art historian James Fox explores 20th-century British art, a period he considers an extraordinary flowering of genius.

In the decades after the Second World War, at a time when many had lost their faith in humanity, British artists turned to the great figurative painting tradition to address the biggest questions of all: what does it mean to be human and how do we create a more humane world? Such existential angst is captured in Lucien Freud's harrowing early portraits and Graham Sutherland's Pembrokeshire landscapes. Francis Bacon stared deep into his own soul to explore the human capacity for evil, while Richard Hamilton warned against the false hope of consumerism. As national pessimism gave way to a new optimism, David Hockney dared to suggest Paradise might be available to us all. But in the early 1970s, just as the world finally began to recognise the genius of Britain's painterly tradition, young artists at home turned against it.

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  • TV Blog - British Masters: My one big chance to get even

    TV Blog - British Masters: My one big chance to get even

    Dr James Fox on one of his motivations to celebrate British 20th century painters: "I overheard a French historian describe Britain as "the land without modern art". His friends all laughed in agreement. I was livid. And ever since I've been determined to prove them wrong."

    Read and comment on James' post on the BBC TV blog

Credits

Presenter
James Fox
Presenter
James Fox
Producer
Matthew Hill
Producer
Matthew Hill
Director
Matthew Hill
Director
Matthew Hill
Executive Producer
Jonty Claypole
Executive Producer
Jonty Claypole

Broadcasts

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