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Art on the BBC: The Great Salvador Dalí (S2EP1 BBC Four Mon 3 Jan Jan 2022)

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The Great Salvador Dalí: In this second series of Art On The BBC, four young British art historians explore the BBC archives to discover how six decades of TV has influenced our understanding of some of art’s most celebrated characters: Dali, Van Gogh, Monet and Turner.

For episode one, art historian David Dibosa examines six decades of BBC archive to create a television history of Salvador Dali. Often called art’s greatest showman and the world’s first celebrity artist, Dali shamelessly used TV to promote his art and himself. Dali’s striking dreamlike images made his name synonymous with the art movement Surrealism, and he shocked the world through film, fashion, sculpture and architecture.

In this film, David hunts through dozens of BBC programmes to try and understand the real Salvador Dali, not just the eccentric show-off that we usually see. Taking in films presented down the decades by Robert Hughes, Sister Wendy and Philippa Perry, David’s rich dive into the archives reveals how our understanding of Dali has changed dramatically through the years, and is enhanced by films made by Dali himself.

David discovers that, whatever the era, Dali was important to programme makers; so much so, that when BBC Four launched in 2002 it did in a star-studded and surreally comic exploration of Dali’s early career, featuring Stephen Fry, Matt Lucas and Ewan Bremner. David also delves into Dali’s fractured relationship with the Surrealists and his own family, his life-long passion for his wife Gala, who was the engine behind his later career and helped him take America by storm.

This episode of Art On The BBC was commissioned by Emma Cahusac for BBC Arts and BBC Four, and Produced and Directed by David Starkey.

Airdate: Mon 3 Jan Jan 2022 at 21:00 on BBC Four

Season 2 Episode 1

Four young British art historians delve into six decades of the BBC archives to discover the powerful way in which television influences our understanding of the world’s greatest artists.