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The French Revolution: Tearing up History

A journey through the dramatic and destructive years of the French Revolution, telling its history in a way not seen before - through the extraordinary story of its art. Our guide through this turbulent decade is the constantly surprising Dr Richard Clay, an art historian who has spent his life decoding the symbols of power and authority.

Dr Clay has always been fascinated by vandalism and iconoclasm, and believes much of the untold story of the French Revolution can be discovered through the stories of great moments of destruction. Who were the stone masons in the crowd outside Notre Dame that pulled down the statues of kings? Why do the churches of Paris still carry all the coded signs of anti-Christian state legislation? What does it mean, and who was carrying this out?

Telling the story of the French Revolution - from the Storming of the Bastille to the rise of Napoleon - as the significant modern outbreak of iconoclasm, Clay argues that it reveals the destructive and constructive roles of iconoclasts and how this led directly to the birth of the modern Europe.

Release date:

1 hour

Last on

Fri 24 Feb 2017 02:50

Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterRichard Clay
ProducerNick Clarke Powell
DirectorNick Clarke Powell

18th Century Season

About the Season

Meet the Georgians who forged modern Britain, across BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC Radio 3.