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The High Art of the Low Countries

Thu Apr 4, 9-10pm, BBC4

Episode one
The last few months should have convinced any doubters that northern Europe, in climate and temperament, is a world removed from the Mediterranean, so it seems a good time to look at the artistic achievements of the Low Countries.

In this first of three parts, Andrew Graham-Dixon examines the explosions of creativity in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, as artists like Jan Van Eyck, Brueghel and Bosch took the new technology of oil paint and used it to create highly detailed, idiosyncratic worlds of the imagination, where heaven, hell and the often grim realities of everyday life co-existed on one plane.

It’s great stuff: the works are portals into a mindset both familiar and bizarrely remote. AGD doesn’t have to do a lot, and if there’s a sense sometimes that he’s rather soft-pedalling on his Dutch bike, it’s only because art this assured is quite eloquent enough.



What an irritating presenter, he could at least wear a tie,the music is equally iritating . A pity that I had to change programs as the painting were well photographed.