In these films Tim Marlow, leading art historian and writer, explores the relationship between art and the afterlife, from the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead to Stanley Spencer’s vision of heaven as a small English town.
“a serious and absorbing programme” – Sunday Telegraph
The first episode, JUDGEMENT, focuses on the moment of judgement after death, tracing its origins in ancient Egypt and going on to explore Buddhist art as well as works by Michelangelo and the contemporary British artist Mark Wallinger.
In the second programme, HEAVEN, Tim reveals that the idea of a blissful realm beyond death appears in many religions around the world, and has been a subject for artists since the time of the Egyptians right up to the work of Tracey Emin.
In the final programme, HELL, Tim explores depictions of hell ranging from Islamic images from 15th century Afghanistan, to a monumental work by the British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman, destroyed in a warehouse fire in 2004.
The promise of heaven and the threat of hell have, for some societies, been a carrot-and-stick device to aid the maintenance of the status quo. Throughout the series, Tim asks whether artistic depictions of the afterlife are the expression of deep spirituality, or the product of society’s need to police individual behaviour. Above all, the series provides a new fresh look at some of art’s greatest works.
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