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Bendor Grosvenor and Emma Dabiri visit Brighton Museum to investigate who painted two religious pictures and uncover the story of one of the most extravagant buildings in Britain.

Bendor Grosvenor and Emma Dabiri visit Brighton Museum to investigate who painted two neglected pictures of religious subjects.

Bendor believes a grubby image of Mary Magdalene repenting her sins may be by a forgotten master of the Roman baroque, Francesco Trevisani. Emma visits the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge to hear how a medieval pope confused the biblical accounts and gave Mary a completely invented personality.

Bendor then travels to Rome to search for traces of Trevisani, while Emma investigates how Brighton’s lavishly decorated Royal Pavilion ended up an empty shell, ransacked and sold to the local council. The second picture is a sympathetic portrayal of Balthazar, a prince and one of the wise men from the Christmas story, which Bendor thinks may be by 16th-century Antwerp master Joos van Cleve. Examination reveals that it was once the left-hand door of a folding altarpiece. Bendor goes on to Edinburgh to see a similar altar, the finest work by van Cleve in Britain. Emma meets Rev Richard Coles to find out how, despite the lack of any description in the Bible, it became traditional to portray Balthazar as a black African.

59 minutes

Last on

Wed 16 Mar 2022 03:00

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Role Contributor
Presenter Bendor Grosvenor
Presenter Emma Dabiri
Series Producer Spike Geilinger
Executive Producer Harry Bell
Executive Producer Brendan Hughes


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