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Treasures of the Louvre

Tue Mar 5, 9-10.30pm, BBC4

Andrew Hussey sets his stall out early. The Louvre, he argues, is a jemmy with which it’s possible to prise open French culture. Over the next hour-and-a-half, he makes good on this claim. The Louvre has been an endlessly adaptable place, meaning many things to many different people.

It’s been the centre of the establishment and the home of revolutionaries. It’s been at the heart of every significant French upheaval. And it’s shapeshifted constantly, hosting a king firing crossbow bolts at fleeing Huguenots, and now, harbouring a formidable collection of Islamic art. In less engaging hands, this documentary could be a long haul. But Hussey is erudite and approachable, his history both rigorously informed and satisfyingly anecdotal.