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Series 1: 4. To Kill a King



Architect Amanda Levete climbs the Tulip Stairs in the Queen’s House, Greenwich, and reassesses Inigo Jones’ elegant and innovative design, while portrait artist Tai Shan Schierenberg encounters Van Dyck’s monumental portrait of the Earl of Pembroke’s family and finds signs of the dysfunction and tensions which point to the civil war to come.\n\nThis was a war that would be waged across three kingdoms, and artist Rita Duffy explores some of the poisonous propaganda it created in Wenceslas Hollar’s Teares of Ireland woodcuts, while photographer Platon examines the Puritan aesthetic through Samuel Cooper’s ‘warts and all’ miniature of Oliver Cromwell.\n\nThe battle between royalist and parliamentary forces brought bloodshed but ultimately the rise of a more questioning culture. Actor Anton Lesser performs excerpts of John Milton’s daring Paradise Lost, which laments the fall of the republic through the figure of a charismatic Satan rebelling against God, the king.\n\nThe restoration of the monarchy saw a new creative flourishing in works by playwright Aphra Behn and the intricate baroque carvings of Grinling Gibbons. But it is in the rise of a more scientific mindset that creativity would find greatest expression: artist Angela Palmer marvels at the artistry of Robert Hooke’s Micrographia, and sculptor Thomas Heatherwick reveals the brilliant architectural deceptions in Christopher Wren’s dome of St Paul’s.

Source: BBC 2

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