A three part BBC series from 2010 in which Andrew Graham-Dixon explores the history of German art, stretching back 500 years, and examines the countries unique artistic style. Graham-Dixon argues that Germany’s art had once rivaled Italy’s Renaissance for its creativity. The series looks at the art of numerous German artists including Durer, Holbein, Caspar David Friedrich, Otto Dix, Joseph Beuys and Gerhard Richter.
In the first episode Andrew looks at the art of the German middle ages and Renaissance and visits the towering cathedral of Cologne, examines the earliest paintings of the Northern Renaissance in Munich, and covers the art of Albrecht Durer and Albrecht Altdorfer.
In episode two Graham-Dixon explores German art in the 19th century and earlier part of the 20th century and explores the artists role in politics and Germany’s desire to become a single nation. He travels to the North of the country and to the coastal town of Griefswald which was the birthplace of one of Germany’s most influential artists, Caspar David Friedrich. He also visits Berlin and examines the art of the Prussian state which would be at the forefront of the unification of Germany in 1871. The episode ends with the outbreak of the first world war.
The third and final episode explores the art of Germany during the dark and difficult times of the 20th century. It was of course a failed artist who was dominating the political landscape, Adolf Hitler spent some time as a painter, was an aspiring architect and was obsessive about the aesthetics of his Third Reich (Nazi uniforms were designed by Hugo Boss!). In a series of building projects and exhibitions Hitler waged a war against all types of modern art. After the fall of the Third Reich and the end of the second world war a new generation of exciting post-war German artists emerged.